learn to read

168 replies, Page 1

Shkm 2010-10-07 08:33:19


When did your child learn to read and how did you teach them to read


RoshMom 2010-10-07 09:13:59


My son started to read at exactly 4 yrs. I used the book "How to teach your child to read in 100 easy lessons" by the author seigfried. apart from that we used to play a lot of word games for phonics, beginning sound, ending sound, rhyming words, word formation and even spelling and also did lot of activity books such as slyvan learning for language art success.  


Rubu 2010-10-07 11:22:53


rosh mom, that s the best book to teach your child to read..wow, you work hard to teach ur child.

my child learned to read at 4 years 3 months.  nwo she can read pretty well for her age. i stressed on teaching phonetics, and same sound games, word games, practised sight words - type sight words and i think there is a online free site for teaching ur kids sight words.

if you are consistent with practising the sounds each letters makes and show how to use it.. it wud work int he long run.




RoshMom 2010-10-07 13:32:00


Yes Rubu.. I always keep recommending that book to whoever wants to teach the children to read at home. First when i looked at the DISTAR method of teaching i was skeptical whether it would confuse him. But with no confusion and pressure the reading came naturally for him.  I have even used that book to teach my friend's son who hated reading.. Now he is a fluent reader like my son..  


Rubu 2010-10-07 21:22:24


rosh mom : do you get that book in India?

do you think i should hv brought it from US? I m returning back to india on this 13th october.. i hvnt brought it cause i used to get it easily from the library here.

I kept on telling my hubby to invest in it but he didnt , saying we get everything in India, dont increase luggage.



RoshMom 2010-10-07 21:27:37


Hi Rubu, I haven't found it in any bookstore yet.  You can buy it thro online which in turn will procure the book from US and it takes approximately a month. i bought it thro www.flipkart.com. so don't worry.   


Shkm 2010-10-08 08:30:11


Thnks, Roshmom for your inputs. I have ordered for the book from Flipkart. BTW how much time did you spend per day? and how many days did it take to complete the lessons.


RoshMom 2010-10-08 12:24:03


Each lesson takes 10 to 15 minutes. Atleast the first 20 to 30 lessons can be completed easily within 10 minutes. so we used to do 2 lessons within 20 minutes initially till 50th lesson. I am not telling you to rush up. But If your kid is interested you can do 2 lessons a day.  overall it took 3 months for us to complete. Started in Aug and completed by 1st week of nov. They promise that you can complete within 3.5 months. But don't go by that. B'cos each kid is different. some kids find it a little difficult after 20th lesson and again after 70th lesson. I have read the review in which most of the parents have said that they come across this situation. (including myself).  So i gave a break for a week when we practiced very simple books and simple words. While using the book we used very simple beginner level reader books as well. Also we used to practice the reading by playing treasure hunt in which i give very simple direct clues using the phonetic he had learnt so far. the aim was to make him read. so used the direct clues.  before you start the book you will have a lot to read abt the method of teaching. Happy reading .


mimmy 2010-10-08 17:06:06


Thanks Roshmom for good info about reading!

You said that your son started reading when he was 4 yrs, he was reading words or sentences?

My son can read few words on own but not full sentences...


RoshMom 2010-10-08 18:34:44



 He started reading books. The first book he read was "are you my mother" by P.D Eastman.. But took 3 days to complete 50+ page book.  Please don't think I am bragging. Actually he has finished reading up to 139 books so far. he got a gift for completing 100 books from his dad. Gift was again somemore books.. .. He can now decode and read any complex word such as compsognathus, corythosaurus (dinosaur names).. The book I mentioned is really worth buying..



srsavi 2010-10-11 11:41:43


@Roshmom - Thank you very much for all the nice advice .

My son just turned 3 and I have eben delibrating on how to start him to read . He has perfected the alphabets , but has not yet started on words.

I tried to teach him words , but somehow it wasnt working .

I will buy this book and get started gradually .  He loves it when I read to him , so maybe he will like learning to read himself .



mimmy 2010-10-11 12:20:27


Roshmom, tht's really impressive...plz share some tips with us...


srsavi 2010-10-11 14:22:16


@Roshmom  - I just ordered the book on Flipkart  . Cant wait to recieve it now and get started ! But do remind me to go easy else in my excitement I might drive him away :)


RoshMom 2010-10-11 15:20:17



3 yrs is a little too early to start reading and they may not show interest as they don't get the concept of combining the sounds. My kid was also not showing interest in reading on his own when i first started with all 2 letters words though he knew all the phonics at the age of 3. If your kid doesn't know the phonics you can start with it.

Yes srsavi... If your kid doesn't seem to show interest, it's ok.. wait for a couple of weeks and then start again. Don't make feel threatened by the sight of the book. Then it will be very difficult to convince them.. all the best..


before I started using the book, I taught him the basics on phonics such as rhyming words, beginning and ending sounds, long and short vowel sounds from the age of 3.

We usually play a lot of games to teach him to identify the alphabets and read. i'll give few examples.

for teaching phonics we use the alphabet fridge magnets. we put them in a container and we take turns to take a random alphabet and tell the phonic of the alphabet. for every correct answer we give a star. and at the end we count to see who won the game.

similarly we play memory games with 2 sets of lexicon cards. shuffle the cards and place them randomly with the cards facing down. each person can pick up 2 cards to find a pair. but the addtional rule we have is the person finding the pair has to say the sound of that alphabet. for finding the pair and telling the correct sound, 2 points will be given. If the phonic is not known then only one point will be given. Sometime i purposely make mistakes to see whether he finds out. Or will have my hubby correct me as if I didn't know the answer. Whenever he finds me making mistake he used to feel so proud of himself.

for learning the rhyming words we sing silly songs with rhyming words like billy tilly silly filly nilly milly etc to the tune of some of his favourite classical rhymes such as twinkle twinkle little star. The words need not make any sense. but the aim is to make him come up with a rhyming sounds. He used to giggle a lot and enjoy singing.

for beginning and ending sounds, one person has to start with a word and the other has to say a word that starts with the ending sound (please note not the alphabet, just the sound). for example for plate the other person can say tail. b'cos the kids don't know yet that the word ends with e.

Pick up an alphabet and both you and your kid can start looking for all the objects in the house that start with that alphabet. at the end see who found more words. another activity the kids love to do is to match the pairs. draw pictures such as dog, hat, sun in one column and on the other column draw pictures of cat, one, log and let the kids match the rhyming words. you can do similarly for beginning and ending sounds by drawing pictures of words that ends or begins with the same sound.

make them find the odd man out. draw the pictures of a set of rhyming words along with a non rhyming word. let them find and circle the odd word. Again you can do this for beginning and ending sounds.

first teach them to identify the consonants in the word and then move on to vowels. teach the long vowel (the sound same as the alphabet name) and then the short vowels. to teach the vowel, you can draw some pictures of the words that have the same vowel sound along with the pictures that have other vowels. for example in the set of words flame, skate, log, he has to associate the alphabet A with flame and skate. you get n number of combinations.

encourage them to write their own spelling. at this stage do not correct them. let them feel confident abt themselves. tell them it's ok to make mistakes. Once they start reading more books, they will learn the correct spelling at the later stage.

after they start reading to some extent, you can teach them when to use long vowel sound and short vowel sound. if the word ends with E, the vowel will sound the same as the alphabet name. for example plate, skate, bite, bone, tune etc.. but the kids usually forget it everytime they read such words and they get confused. so instead of correcting them by telling the correct pronounciation, you tell them that the word ends with E. so what sound do you use. then after sometime they will start reading with the correct vowel sounds.

start with beginning sounds, rhyming words, ending sounds, long vowels, short vowels and then the middle sounds in that order. Once they know how to identify the sounds in each syllable, writing comes in no time. 


Shkm 2010-10-11 18:37:58


Thks Roshmom. A really indept reply. I will surely seek ur help once I start on the book. Does this book cover sight words also or did you seperately teach sight words?


RoshMom 2010-10-11 19:37:47


Hi ShKm,

You are most welcome. if you use the book you don't need sight words. It teaches to decode any word.. so no need to worry abt that.


srsavi 2010-10-12 09:22:29


Roshmom : Thanks again for being so detailed . The only reason why I do want to start now is because my son's first love is puzzles and the second is books ! He loves when I read alound , and when we do the Dr Seuss books  , sionce its all in rhyming  text says the words after me . And incidentally his favourite book is Are you my Mother  !

In school they have started him with writing words ( yes thats the way it is  since he was Sept 07 born he goes to Nursery along with  Dec 06 kids) I dont bother with all that at home , but to improve his speech I am showing him to recognize and say a lot of words.

I use my laptop , have made Powerpoint slides with One one word written in the largest font and he recognizes them ( of course he is more familiar with Caiptal letter and does not recognize all the small letters yet)

But he looks at learning as a fun activity now , so I want to leaverage that early advantage and ensure his interest in books stays .  Once this book comes , I will see how to start it , I am eager to read it myself and see whats the approach !




 Former member 2010-10-14 12:38:36


How long does flipkart take to deliver this book?


Shkm 2010-10-14 15:11:59


21 working days. It is an imported book


itawer 2010-10-14 18:20:32


Hey Roshmom

Am still in two minds whether to go the phonic way or simply thru word recogition. My son is 2.10, but can read simple words like "the", do, so go, end, and , his own name pranav, noddy... etc. also pot hot etc.

To me, phonics seems to be a bit confusing as it isn't consistent for all the words. For eg: words like chair & chemistry & so on. any inputs on this?

I will definitey try to get hold of the book u have mentioned because i was looking for a more structured approach to reading than what I am doing now.



RoshMom 2010-10-14 18:43:35


Hi Itawer,

As you have mentioned there are certain letters which have hard and soft sounds. For example g as in giraffe and good, ch as in chair and chemistry, c as in cute and ceiling etc. So if the kids know these sounds , it's very easy for them to correct the pronounciation of the word. What my son does is he will try to read with the soft sound first. If it doesn't make sense he will reread the word with the hard sound.   

 If you teach only thro sight words then in future he will be able to read only the words he had read before. If a new word which he has never heard of is used in the sentence, then he will be at a loss where as those who learn thro phonics will be able to read any tough word. another disadvange is while writing, he has to have seen or read the word before.  Your son may find it easier to read the, so etc but he will get confused when he has to read the words similar to "the" such as they, there, their, this, that.

My son reads the complex words by himself and tries to understand the meaning from the context of the story and confirms whether the meaning is right. 

From my point of view phonics is the best way to learn to read. 


roses 2010-10-15 04:27:16


Just some more questions Roshmom:

I've just picked up the book from the library. I know it is early , a little too early because my little one has yet to learn his ABC's talk about reading. I've just picked up the book just to make sure I am going up the right path and to eliminate the clutter that I may expose him to with all my anxiousness to get him to start reading.

1. You've mentioned PD Eastman's book (are you my mother) that your little one read all by himself. Woudl you suggest I keep away the PD Eastman and other dr. suess books for a later date. They are great for rhyming words and just as you mentioned for beginning readers. My little one knows some of them by sheer memory which came to me as a surprise. He was probably just 16months old when he knew next page of 'hop on pop' and said 'all fall'. After which I was hoping that he would learn to read by sheer memory which has been the case with this one in particular. Shall I hold off?

2. Getting to learn his ABC's has been an uphill task partly because I have not been pushy at it either. However something that he sees as a part of his morning breakfast is the Brainy Baby ABC's dvd which stresses on phonics of the letters. Just this morning he points at the letters and started saying 'letters'. I've never insisted. I think he picks up very quickly from the Brainy baby series. Just this monday he counted till 20 while all along I used to think he only knew till 10 (he skips 5). You should've seen my husband and me high five each other when he did that!! I hope brainy baby abc's is a good way to start on phonics with him.

3. So far he has worked his way till 'K' (he can say A-K and identify the letters till K) , I hope it is an ok pace for a 22 month old or should I pace him better.   

4. I do have other cue cubes (fridge magnet types) with 2 or 3 letter phonic which I am keeping for a later date. Should I hold off till he is 3. The reason I ask is because the book (TYCTR in 100 lessons) mentions starting them off at 3 and half year...

btw, great inputs on the sight cards. I had a somewhat similar fear that he would only identify those counted number of words. We tried your baby can read with him at 13 months only for him to learn words quickly but when it came to sight words he woudl turn his head away ! Needless to say, that effort has been shelved....



RoshMom 2010-10-15 06:55:34


Hi Roses,

You have done the right thing in selecting the book this early. Why I'm saying this is when I started teaching my little one the phonics, I was teaching the sounds like Da, pa, ma, fa instead of ddddd, ppppp, mmmmm, ffff... B'cos the leap frog phonic toys use the sounds like dah, pah, bah which is actually wrong. That was one of the reasons why he wasn't able to read the 2 letter words which i started with. But when i started using the correct way he was able to adapt to that method easily. But i feel if i had followed the right way, he would have been able to read even earlier.

1. As you know there are many aspects to reading a book like enjoying the story, humor, seeing the pictures, expecting what comes next.. So from my point of view, we should read to them any type of the book at any age as long as they show interest when we read to them. I think you don't have to wait till he becomes 3 to know abt the rhyming words. You said right now he is saying the words through memory even before reading it to him . Actually this is perfectly alright. when he keeps hearing the rhyming words, he will easily get the concept of rhyming words in future.

2. The first step in learning the aphabets or numbers is reciting from memory. I haven't seen the brainy baby series.but Your son seems to show interest in learning alphabets by remembering them when you play the cd. So this is the best time to teach him seriously to identify the alphabets and numbers. Now that he knows to recite the numbers, you can start teaching him to identify beyond 10 and to place them in sequence. Recently I had sent a friend some games and play method to teach the alphabets. I can send it to you if you want.

3. For a 2 yr old the pace is ok. But while teaching alphabets, i think you don't have to go in the alphabet sequence. I always feel that kids show us the way how they want us to teach them and when they want to learn them. when my son was of your son's age, he showed a volkwagen symbol and asked me what it is.. I told him it's V & W for volkswagen. next time when he saw the symbol in the wheel of the car, W was in inverted position. Then immediately he said " So if I turn W upside down it becomes M. Then I realized that he is a visual learner and he likes to compare and learn. Immediately I started categorizing the alphabets into groups such as (p,b,d, g) and (i,j), (O,Q), (I,H,T).. And he learnt very fast that way. So try to figure out how he wants to learn. If you follow his way, he is sure to learn even faster..

4. The book has mentioned that the starting age is 3.5 b'cos they mainly concentrate on forming words apart from the phonics and also b'cos their language skills are better around the age of 3 when they really start speaking clearly. So i would say that you go ahead with teaching just the simple phonics of the consonants and the vowels but not the complex phonics such as the phonics of PH, TURE, TION, OA, EA, AI etc. Later when he shows the sign of reading readiness, you can start with the book.. Hope i have answered your questions.


roses 2010-10-15 08:39:33


Hi Roshmom,

Quite frankly the brainy baby ABC's have the same shortcoming as the leap frog phonics. I will just have to start him off alongside on the correct way.

On Pt 3. you bring up a very real point. My son the other day held up 'V' and said upside down. I tried correcting him and he then picked up 'A' to show me that 'V' was actually upside down 'A'. I guess I should try the category method since he often gets confused between B and D. Do you have a list for quick reference that I can refer to?Yes games and play method for teaching alphabets are most welcome !

The alphabets are taking a lot longer than the numbers. It has to do partly with the fact that we would do a lot of counting when we stepped out while not so much of letter identification. I will probably start focusing on that now. Unfortunately he is all about 'big truck' or 'shool bus' when I am driving. Was it the same way with your little one? btw, the dinosaurs have yet to become a big hit. I've had to 'soften' up some of the books and limit myself to the baby ones (how do dinosaurs & naming various objects) because he is kind of scared of the real 'appearance' of the dinosaurs. Surprisingly he is even scared of the dinosaur skeleton while he is absolutely fine about a human skeleton !  



RoshMom 2010-10-15 11:43:23


Hi Roses,

In my son's case, it was the other way round. He learnt his alphabets faster than the numbers. Till 3 he didn't cross 20. And he was more into animals. Even now he doesnt show much interest in cars and trucks. May be you shd make use of that cars and trucks' brand name or symbol to teach the alphabets and phonics. The first 3 letters my friend's son learnt to identify were BMW.. so try it..

Ok here are the fun ways to teach the alphabets..

First make a list of alphabets which he knows very well and those that he is yet to learn. work on one alphabet a day.

Method 1: you write Down the alphabet in a big font which you are going to teach him and tell him the name a couple of times. Lets take an example "M". Now you and your little one have a competition in finding maximum number of "M"s in the newspaper headlines. both of you take one page of newspaper each and keep underlining or circling them. After a while you count to find who found the most. Most of time you let him win. As he keeps seeing the letter again and again he will remember it very well. End of the game ask him which alphabet he found in the paper. In my son's school, they conducted a kindergarten literacy program in which they said that a child can remember an alphabet or a word for sure after seeing it for 24 times which is found thro a research. next day when you play the game again, before starting the game you ask him to point to an M. if he has forgotten, it's okay. you can tell him. But i'm sure he will remember. then you can move on to the next alphabet. every day you revise the previously learnt alphabet.

Method 2: Lilly pad hop. To play this game you need 3 people. you can include your hubby in the game.  Let your son be the little froggy. You have to cut 26 circles from cardboards. and paste 26 circular white sheet. write one alphabet in each circle. or you can even use the alphabet play mats. you take those circles with the alphabets which he is more familiar with along with one or two new alphabets which you are going to teach him. Now place the circles on the floor randomly and tell him that the circles are the lilly pads and you are the little froggy. one of you has to call out "little froggy little froggy hop on to " the alphabet name". so your son and the other person have to try to find the alphabet and go and stand on the correct circle and croak "RIBBIT" RIBBIT". Failing to croak will not count. the one who finds the alphabet and comes to the circle and stands on it and says RIBBIT RIBBIT will get a point. Initially ask for the alphabets which he knows very well. then at times you can ask for the new alphabets. he will learn quickly. When we used to play with our little one, most of the time we pretend as if we are still searching for the letter giving him a chance to find them.

Method 3. if you have alphabet fridge magnets or flash cards or blocks with alphabets, put them in a container and pick up one alphabet at a time and ask your little one to name it. if he says it correctly, give him a point. this way you can start teaching the alphabet phonic as well and make him tell the alphabet name and the phonic to get full point. if he gives only half correct answer, then give him 0.5 points. you can let him pick up the alphabet and you can tell him the alphabet name. Try to make mistakes and see whether he realizes it's wrong. ultimately he shd win most of the win.

Method 4: Another quick way to make him remember is to show him signs for the alphabets. Most of the time visual examples, help them to learn very fast at this age. For example you can show A with 2 thumbs up and bringing them together in the form of A. V like how we show victory or 2. For W show 2 victories with fingers of both the hands. and T like stop sign with 2 palms perpendicular to each other in T shape. for O you can ask him to keep his lips in a circular shape and then ask him to make a sound. he can only make O sound. For S, you can say it's like a snake who says ssssssssssssssss.. for E you say that it's like the teeth in the comb. and ask him to show his teeth and let him make a sound. with the clenched teeth, he can only make E sound. Z is like zig zag lines that starts with the sound ZZZZZ. this may not be possible for all the alphabets. but try to be innovative.

Method 5: Play treasure hunt. for this you need to take atleast 10 pieces of paper out of which 5 peices will have the new alphabet which he has learnt that day. The rest of the pieces can have some alphabets which he is familiar with. fold and hide them at different places in the room (not too difficult to find. you can even place them at plain sight). the aim is to make him identify the alphabet. each time he finds, he has to say the alphabet name (including the ones he knows). But he has to hand over to you the pieces which have the alphabet he has learnt new.  

Method 6: You can make him visualize something that is similar to the alphabet. for example Q is like a wheel with the side stand, L is like a man sitting with his legs streched out, I is like a man with the hat and shoes, T is like a man with the hat but no shoes, W is like waves in the water, X is like the danger sign, B is like a man with the big face and big belly. P is like a man with a flat belly, A is like a TV tower. U is like a cup.

Method 7 : group the alphabet that look similar as follows
1. "M,W" - If M is inverted, you get W
2. "B, D " - with 2 curves, it's B, with one curve it's D or P
3. W,V,A - 2 Vs make W, inverted V makes A
4 .Q,O - O with a stick is Q
5. E,F - 3 lines E, 2 lines F
6. H, I - if I is tilted sideways it becomes H
7, I , T, L- with one line at the top and one line at the bottom, it's I and remove one at the bottom, you get T.
8. P, R -
9. C, G -
10 M,N
11, S,C
12, N, Z
13. M,N

Lower case or (upper and lower case combinations):
1. b,p,d
2. g,y
3. a,Q,o
4. m,n,w
5. c,e
6. f,j
7. i,j
8. k,R
9. j,t
10, f,t
12 u,w
14, h,n

When you start with lower case letter, first show him the alphabets which are just the same as the upper case alphabets. such as c,k,o,p,s,v,w,x,y,z. so only 16 more alphabets have to be taught new. b,d and p are very confusing for them. so you can just hold them off till they learn to identify all other alphabets.

Make him experiment with the alphabets. and when you teach a new alphabet example "M", don't show him the alphabet and ask him "which alphabet is this" instead ask him where the alphabet M is. Till he registers the alphabet name in his mind, ask him where the alphabet is instead of what the alphabet is.. Hope this is useful..


roses 2010-10-17 08:12:20


HI Roshmom, Thank you so very much for all the specifics and details. I've been using your inputs and can see so much of an improved pace in his ability to pick up teh alphabets. The sign language (method 4) has been the most effective. The  fridge magnet dip & tresure hunt seem to be helping too.  Ever since I have played teh fridge magnet game letters have become close companions. These days 'F, J and T ' are his favorite. The fact that he can recite till P, after being cued by the alphabet chart, makes me feel a little better.

Thanks so much for breaking down the alphabets by category. I know this will come handy when he gets to writing too.I am so looking forward to going full steam ahead after my trip....

Thanks again!!



RoshMom 2010-10-17 14:31:07


Hi Roses,

You are welcome. I'm glad the methods are helpful


anwesha 2010-10-18 10:12:09


Hi Friends,

Anybody in this forum willing to sell "Kindergarten Language Arts Sucess" by Sylvan Learning - Excerpt. Please respond and also thanks for providing the usefull tips with regard to child's reading and writing skills.

I too have a 3 year old daughter who is in Nursery now & I think I should make use of the abvoe books if available with anybody here in this forum.




srsavi 2010-10-18 10:59:59


Roshmom - hats off to you for taking the time and effort to write to us in detail . A lot of us are benefitting so much from it !


RoshMom 2010-10-18 19:12:47


Hi Anwesha,

The sylvan Learning's language arts success is a workbook. So it's better to buy a new book. the kids would love to write in the book itself as it's so colorful and each exercise uses pictures and most of the concepts of phonics and words are explained thro pictures.

Thanks Srsavi..



All Rights Reserved Copyright © 2008-2020 Parentree