How to Teach a Child to Read: Our Top Tips


1. How can I get my child excited about reading?

2. At what age should a child be able to read?

3. The age timeline

4. What are the methods of teaching reading?

Reading is a fundamental skill, necessary for future success. On September 8th, we celebrated International Literacy Day here at GoStudent! We talked about why this day is so important to us and the world, and how reading capabilities propel success. But now it’s time to bring it even further home for a second. 

Teaching children to read can be challenging and a very individual process. No one child is the same and learns at the same speed. Some parents prefer to leave it for schooling, and some want to have a try at it at home. Both are completely reasonable mindsets and will yield results either way. 🔠 

children reading a book in a field

📖 How can I get my child excited about reading?

If you are interested in potentially teaching your child how to read yourself, there are a few things about the process to keep in mind. 🕊️

Reading is not only a skill, but can also be a source of comfort, fun and enjoyment. This is a great way to approach it from home. Children love to have stories read to them and we’re sure they already have an arsenal of go-tos! Keep these books and texts nearby in their room. 

Turn their room into an oasis where they know that they can get into this zone. Maybe set up a little project where you go shopping for books and make a little bookshelf for motivation! After a while, the enthusiasm will grow and they will want to know more! 🏓

This part is not the time for memorising letters, numbers or sentences. This part is all about the love, joy and comfort of a good book and story. However, as mentioned before, teaching and learning how to read are processes and there are some techniques to keep in mind; which is why we’re here to answer some questions and share some tips! 

📖 At what age should a child be able to read?

It cannot be emphasised enough that every child learns individually and differently. However, the average age where children learn to read is 6 years old. The range is usually from 4-6; some start earlier and some later. What age they start doesn’t necessarily mean that they will be ahead forever. The same thing can be said for those who start later. The first reading milestones happen in Year 1 and Year 2. 💡

This is where a more formal approach to teaching reading comes in. Some methods include word recognition, where the emphasis is placed on context and meaning. Phonics is another way, which is all about phonemes and the sounds of words. Depending on what you think your child grasps more, you can mix and match this. 👂🏽

Overall, if you are teaching some basics at home in combination with formal education, it’s best to start when you see your child’s enthusiasm and which direction they lean to naturally. 

📖 The age timeline

When it comes to language learning, there is a rough timeline you could use. Up to their first year in life, children start to communicate and understand that certain sounds or actions have meaning. They can spot objects and point to them and can respond to stories in minute ways. 

In the toddler age, children can also vocalise the objects they see in books. Slowly they are able to point to objects and name them too! If they are well acquainted with some basic books, they may even finish a sentence or a rhyme. Also, their sense of memory is sharper, remembering favourite stories, books and images. This process segments itself and becomes sharper until school age. ✏️

Between the ages of 6 and 7 is where children begin to actually learn the fundamentals of reading by sounding out unfamiliar words, using imagery for contextual help, reading aloud and correcting themselves. This is a great age to try out new techniques!

📖 What are the methods of teaching reading?

Generally speaking, there are the formal methods taught in school, and there are also more casual methods you can do at home, especially with e-learning on the rise.

For at-home learning, the method of reading aloud is a great place to start. This not only helps with pronunciation and intonation but is a great confidence booster. 

With this method, there is a lot of room for enthusiasm in the voice, facial movements and general excitement! Make sure to set up a fun and safe space to do this in. It is important here to be interactive and ask follow-up questions, like the name of the animal in the picture, for example. Use your fingers to run over the words and follow at a reasonable speed. Read with them to help out and repeat, repeat, repeat!

On a more formal level, there are techniques like the SQ3R (Survey, Question, Read, Recite Review), which are already for those who are more proficient in reading to boost reading comprehension and analytical ability. 🧠

Techniques like skimming and scanning are more conducive to school-level reading, which you can implement too! At the beginning of a paragraph or a page, you can encourage your children to quickly skim the words for faster recognition. Equally so, you can implement the scanning technique, to scan and search for a specific word or sentence!

Teaching kids to read is a unique process, but it is important to approach it with enthusiasm and fun! Incorporating techniques like reading aloud, skimming, and scanning are great places to start. Talk to your child’s teacher as well to get some insight on where they might need the most practice. 🥰