How To Help Your Child Learn To Read

How To Help Your Child Learn To Read | District Speech & Language Therapy | Washington D.C. & Arlington VA

Being behind on reading or not reading enough comes with issues.

Not reading enough can cause issues with memory that may require speech therapy for memory issues.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, it is also important to note that having above average reading skills may not always be a positive for your child.

Some children with this skill may require speech therapy for hyperlexia, because this condition can cause below average reading comprehension and communication skills.

At District Speech and Language Therapy, we provide a range of different pediatric speech therapy services for reading and learning disabilities.

Why Is Reading So Important?

You would be hard pressed to find anyone who disagrees with the idea that reading is an essential life skill.

There are many benefits to reading, including reading being important for your growth.

Reading also helps you understand the world around you.

It helps to improve brain functioning, expands vocabulary, sharpens memory, helps improve communication ability, and much, much more.

In addition, the benefits of reading are not just seen when your child reads to themselves.

There are also benefits to you reading to your child as well.

Reading to your child can help them understand the world and learn how to read by listening to your reading.

The process of reading isn’t something that comes naturally to us, and it doesn’t happen without work.

We all have to learn how to read.

While some children pick up reading fairly easily and seem to have their noses in books from early on, others may have some difficulty when it comes to this important skill.

In fact, statistics on reading disabilities in children show that about 4% of school-aged children in the US have a reading disability.

There are some common causes associated with learning disabilities like reading impairments including:

  • A chromosomal abnormality, like Down syndrome
  • Premature birth
  • Childhood neglect
  • Fetal alcohol syndrome

Some of these conditions may benefit from speech therapy as well.

RELATED: Speech Therapy Treatments For Children With Down Syndrome

If your child struggles with reading and requires speech therapy and reading learning disability intervention, it’s important to recognize there is help available.

Let’s look at some speech and language therapy techniques you can use to help your child learn to read.

1. First, Understand The Core Skills You’re Teaching Them

Reading involves a variety of different skills, and successfully learning to read means being able to use them together.

These skills include:

  • Phonics: making the connection between sounds and the letters which make them
  • Phonemic awareness: being able to manipulate sounds
  • Vocabulary: learning words, definitions, and contexts
  • Reading comprehension: understanding how text comes together to create meaning
  • Fluency: being able to read with speed and accuracy, both aloud and silently

Each of these aspects of speech can have their own disorders that may require speech therapy treatment.

Understanding how these items work together, as well as how to develop each one individually as your child learns how to read, will help set the foundation for them to read on their own.

2. Play Word Games With Them

Play has many different benefits to your child’s speech development.

Playing word games can help your child to listen carefully in order to identify sounds and letters in words.

You might ask them questions such as “What sound does the word start or end with?” and “What other words rhyme with this word?”.

You can even ask them to form words with toys to have fun with learning.

Listening carefully to these sounds and letters in words can help your child learn how the words on the page read.

These games are not only helpful in helping your child learn how to read, but they can also help your child learn how to write.

RELATED: Why Is Play Important In A Child’s Development

3. Use Flash Cards

Flash cards can be useful for helping children learn to recognize “sight words”.

“Sight words” are those which are difficult to sound out and should be recognizable at a glance.

Some examples of sight words which occur frequently include: we, am, that, have, they, and was.

They can also be helpful to help your child learn how words in general sound and what sounds go into forming the words they read.

For instance, you can put words with 3 sounds on a flashcard.

Let’s say you use:

  • Ram
  • Top
  • Cup

You can pick a flashcard and ask your child to sound out each sound in the word one at a time.

Doing this will help them learn how to pronounce and understand sounds in the words they read.

4. Play With Letter Fridge Magnets

Using magnets to spell out words can be useful for helping your child master middle vowel sounds.

Have them say vowel sounds out loud while pointing to its corresponding letter.

Then, use those to spell out short CVC, which are consonant – vowel – consonant words.

Learning these middle vowel sounds can be difficult, and this activity can act as a helpful tool for learning them.

You don’t necessarily have to use fridge magnets, you can use some other toys your child finds fun.

This could include using a game for language and articulation, like Alpha Bots.

5. Use Songs And Rhymes

Nursery rhymes and songs are more than just a fun way to play and bond with your child.

They are also useful for phonemic awareness and helping children learn to recognize syllables and sounds in words.

Using nursery rhymes and songs with your child will help them develop reading and literacy skills needed to read independently.

RELATED: Our 5 Favorite Speech Language Apps: #2-Wheels On The Bus

6. Read With Your Child And Engage With Them

There are quite a few benefits of reading to your child.

You’re modeling how to sound out words, expanding vocabulary, and developing comprehension skills.

Perhaps most importantly, reading with your child fosters a love of reading which they will take with them throughout their life.

playing with blocks with letters to help you child learn to read | District Speech & Language Therapy | Washington D.C. & Arlington VA

7. Fill Their World With Words

While reading to your child is one way to expose them to words, there are ways to do this while you go about your daily life as well.

The more your child sees words on media such as signs and posters, the better your child will get at making connections between letters and sounds.

You can place words on items that your child frequently uses, like their door, the fridge, or their bed comforter.

8. Above All, Be Patient

Some children will naturally learn to read at a faster rate than others.

As you’re working with your child to teach them how to read, it’s important to recognize this fact.

It is important not to compare your child’s progress to their peers or siblings.

This is especially true if those peers or siblings develop reading skills at a faster rate.

However, it is important to recognize signs of reading and learning impairments, which may require intervention.

Early intervention for reading issues is crucial to getting your child on the path to the proper development of reading skills.

We’ll look at this in the next section.

What Happens If They’re Not Progressing?

While we know every child will develop reading skills at their own rate, there are some signs of reading and learning impairment to watch for which may require further intervention.

Some signs of a learning disability may include having trouble with the following areas when it comes to reading:

  • Remembering the words to a song
  • Recalling words
  • Learning the alphabet
  • Adding new words to their vocabulary
  • Connecting sounds and letters
  • Spelling and writing

RELATED: Teaching Your Child To Write

If your child does not learn how to read properly it could be a sign of many different learning related disabilities.

There are signs for these learning disabilities that occur throughout a child’s development.

These disabilities occur on a spectrum, as there are a wide range of disabilities and symptoms involved.

Some learning disabilities include:

  • Dyslexia: Difficulty with recognizing words, spelling, reading, and writing
  • Dysgraphia: Not being able to write in an understandable way
  • Hyperlexia: Inability to understand the words they are reading

There are many myths associated with dyslexia and you may be wondering if you can watch out for dyslexia for your child starts school.

The answer is, yes, you can.

If you suspect your child may have a disability which is preventing them from learning to read, then it’s a good idea to look into speech therapy.

RELATED: Speech Therapy For Dyslexia In Kids
RELATED: Speech Therapy Treatments For Dysgraphia

Book Your Appointment With District Speech Today

At District Speech, we can help with the diagnosis and treatment of learning disabilities for your child.

By recognizing issues early on, and intervening early, you can set your child up for future success.

If you notice your child is struggling with language development, book your appointment as soon as possible.

This is because early intervention for speech and language disorders has been shown to produce much better results than waiting to treat later.

Book your appointment with District Speech today.

District Speech and Language Therapy
1300 I St NW, Suite 400 E,
Washington, DC 20005


District Speech and Language Therapy specializes in speech therapy, physical therapy, and occupational therapy solutions, for both children and adults, in the Washington D.C and the Arlington Virginia areas.