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Learning to read accurately, fluidly, with good comprehension, and speed is an important set of skills for any child’s academic success.

In many schools, a shockingly large percentage of children don’t know how to read. The school administrators, teachers, and parents are clueless of the correct method of instruction that the children will learn to read.

Learning how to read is one important skill a child has to master before the age of 10. That’s because everything from building up a vocabulary to writing the school assignments and securing good exam scores at school is linked to reading ability.

Two methods of teaching reading:

The Phonics method

In English, the smallest word-part that carries meaning is a phoneme. It is a single ‘unit’ of sound that has a meaning. A single phoneme represents a different sound a child can make.

Typically, the alphabets are the building block of language, whereas, phonemes are the basic units of spoken language.

In English, we translate sounds into letters and words are letter combinations we normally see on a page.

Reading thus involves a child’s ability to decode words into a series of sounds. 

The phonics method helps the child learn how to break words down into sounds, translate sounds into letters and combine letters to form new words.

With phonics – first, you teach a child to read the word fish by telling him about the sounds of, f—‘ff’—i—short i—and sh—‘sh.’ then you tell him to blend the sounds from left to right to read the word: ‘fish.’

The phonics method is one of the most popular and commonly used methods. In the beginning, a child may be slow and reading out loud, confusing, but eventually, this is the best way to teach a child to read.

Here the child is helped to grasp the content of what he reads not, as usual, a poor reader does in a mechanical way. The emphasis is to train the child to respond vocally to the sight of letters.

The whole – word Approach

This method teaches reading at the word level. Here the child skips the decoding process; they do not recognize the sounding of the words but learn to say the word by recognizing its written form. Children recognize the word basing on the context and images. 

They are repeatedly exposed to a small vocabulary of printed words until their vocabulary grows and recognize more words. Reading via this method is an automatic process, and it sometimes called sight-reading. 

Tips for parents

Whatever the method you use, for teaching reading your child the following tips will help.

Make reading an everyday habit for your child

Allot a time and place to read.

Create a book corner at home; let the child select his books to read.

Take him to nearby books store, libraries and book exhibitions.

Help him read loudly

Help him use a standard dictionary.

Don’t allow him to ignore the native language.

Let the child see the parents reading. They learn more by observation and example.

Teach the child how to read.

Explain to them how to enjoy reading books. 

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