As an Elementary teacher, I have found that teaching a child to read is one of the most crucial skills a child needs. Most children, however, do not fully grasp the concept of reading until they are around the age of 6. With that being said, it doesn’t mean that your four year old won’t be able to read. There are steps you can take to help your 4 year old to read.
How to Teach a 4-year old to Read
Teaching a child to read at any age is building confidence and a love for reading in your child. You must keep in mind that at 4, the child may not be ready to read on their own. However, you can help them to get ready to read by the time they move into kindergarten by following these tips:
Read Aloud to Your Child
Reading literacy really begins at infancy. This means that you can start building core reading skills in your child by reading to them as soon as they are born. Not only is reading to your child a time to bond with them, but children learn by seeing others. You are modeling a love for reading and if children don’t have this at a young age, it can hinder their reading ability as they get older.
Ask Your Child Questions
Reading isn’t just the ability of children to read words off a page, but the ability for them to comprehend those words. Begin building your child’s verbal vocabulary as you read to your child. Ask your child questions about the story such as:
- What do you think the story is going to be about?
- What do you think will happen next?
- Is this a story that could happen in real life?
- What was the story about?
- Can you retell me the story I just read?
Show Your Child How Important Reading Is
Even if your child likes reading now, this confidence may soon dwindle as they begin to feel the pressure to read for themselves. To combat this, make sure your child sees YOU reading. Be an example to your child. The more you read, the more you show your child how important reading is even when they get older.
Talk about Environmental Print
We are surrounded by words, print, and letters in our environment. When your child asks what a sign means or what it says, talk about the different letters, the sounds they make, and what the word says. For instance, a child will learn that STOP spells stop because you have told them that sign says stop and every time you approach a stop sign, you stop. Children learn through doing and through their environment when they are younger, so use this opportunity to help them read by asking questions. Show them how words read from left to right no matter if its in a book or on a sign.
Do Alphabet Crafts
It can be challenging for a child to learn both the name of the letters and their corresponding sounds. In order for a child to read words they do not know, they will need to be able to sound them out. This involves learning the sounds to each letter and blending them together. Instead of teaching it, do it. I like doing animal crafts such a turning the letter M into a mouse. Do alphabet crafts that turn the letter into something tangible for the child.
Learn a New Word Each Week
The key to reading is building that confidence in your little reader. Teaching them sight words or color words that they don’t have to sound out helps build their confidence when they begin to read. Teach words slowly so the child doesn’t feel overwhelmed. You can start by teaching 1 or 2 words a week.
- Look for the words in a story that you read.
- Look for the words when you are at the store.
- Look for the words when you are taking a walk.
- Make the words with Playdoh.
- Write the words with sidewalk chalk.
- Use the words to do a craft or an activity.
- Sing word songs or color words songs.
The key to a child picking up on learning new words is not to know they are learning at all. For every word they learn, make it fun, interactive, and engaging.
Teach Using the Reading Patch
Unless you went to school to be a teacher, you may find it difficult to come up with fun, engaging, and confident building ways to teach your 4-year old to read. If so, that is perfectly fine! Instead, begin the Reading Patch Program. This program focuses on building confidence in reading to make your little one successful. Everything you need to help your child read is in this program.
The first step? Give your little reader a reading test. Sign up below to test your little reader and soon you will be on your way to helping teach your little reader to read.
Remember, teaching your child to read should be fun for them! You can teach reading, EVEN IF your student struggles in any way…. Reading Patch is here to help you.
About the Authors:
Madreen Karle is a master first grade reading teacher with over 30 years of classroom experience. She taught reading in a special needs and English as a Second Language classroom. After retiring she wrote a reading program to help others learn how to teach reading. She is a trusted educator and author of 5 books to help teach children to read and write. In addition to her books, she is a mentor for 3 websites that give reading teacher tips (Mrs. Karle’s Sight and Sound Reading, Mrs. Karle’s Reading Patch, and Mrs. Karle’s Handwriting Patch). Through her teaching she learned that confidence was the key to learning to read. A child who is not confident at reading does not like to read and struggles to read. Mrs. Karle created “sunshine moments” to help teach children how to grow their confidence and learn to read.
Meeghan Karle Mousaw (Madreen’s daughter) has her Master’s in Special Education. She has 7 years experience teaching children to read online. In addition, she developed a curriculum to teach children handwriting called The Handwriting Patch. With the Handwriting Patch learning is fun because children learn to draw and learn handwriting at the same time. In 2019 The Handwriting Patch curriculum became an amazon best seller the first year it was released, helping thousands of kids learn handwriting with a unique, fun method. She is mom to 6 kids, each with differently learning abilities and struggles.
The Reading Patch was established by the creators of Mrs. Karle’s Sight and Sound Reading. Together they have been featured on the NBC media outlets. Over the last 7 years in their online platform, Madreen and Meeghan have worked tirelessly with teachers, homeschoolers and parents looking to help children learn to read to become a trusted authority in teaching children to read and advocating early literacy skills. They often partner with other educational experts to deliver the most current information to the Reading Patch community.