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Encouraging Heroes. You can be one too.

Children can learn to read at a very early age. Every child is different but many can generally begin to read before starting elementary school. Practice can begin at home with the parents, so it’s your responsibility to make sure they get a head start!

1. Begin With A-Z
The best place to start is teaching them the alphabet. You can start with the classic alphabet song, but there are additional ways to make what is being said in the song stick in their minds. Putting images with letters can help children begin to understand that words follow the letters. Show them how A is for animal, B is for banana, C is for cupcake, and D is for dinosaur. As they recognize these relationships, they will begin to realize how the letters are the beginning of other words as well.

2. Story Time
Children love to be read to and story time can be a daily activity with countless benefits. Story time is particularly effective at night before going to sleep, because the environment around them is still and the children are physically tired. It is easier for children to listen and pay attention to stories when they are not distracted and itching to move around. This is a great time to point out small and easy to understand words like “the”, “and”, “as”, “she”, “he” and “it”. Because these words are smaller, they can be easier to remember than larger words. As time goes on, larger words can be introduced until the children can string together small phrases and finally small sentences.

3. Interactivity
Interactive books and computer programs are a great way to introduce reading at the youngster’s own pace. Computer programs and interactive books are also bright, funny, quirky, attention grabbing and educational. If a child feels like they are playing a game, they are going to stay engaged while continuing to learn. Interactive books can be found at different reading levels, so start with the level where your young person is at and work up toward higher levels as they gain knowledge. These programs can teach them phonics, and expand their vocabulary with the use of games. This is a very helpful tool for parents, because the programs are chock full of different games and these methods have already been formulated to successfully teach children. There is only so much that a parent can come up with, so take advantage of these tools!

4. Make Reading Fun!
One great way to make reading fun is to play around with spelling out words. This can be done with letter magnets on the refrigerator. Whenever your child goes to the refrigerator to get a snack, they can spell out words with the use of the colorful and movable magnets. Spelling out the names of small words can get them interested and as they learn, words of foods in the refrigerator can be introduced. This is an easy format for children to understand. because it is a very interactive, tangible and colorful way for them to put the letters together, without getting out the paper and crayons.

Shonda Burger likes to write about education, travel & frequenting www.homeequityloan.net.

Earnest Parenting: help for parents who want to have readers.

Image courtesy of NatalieMaynor via Creative Commons license, some rights reserved.