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All of my children learned to read by the age of 2. So, how did I do it? I get this question all the time from people who know my children. How did you teach your kids to read? How can I do it? What I did is not much different than what you’re already doing, so I’m writing it out to help you get results through my method.
Before we get started here is a little background:
- My son, who is now 5, reads at a 3rd to 4th grade level. I currently have him reading chapter books to help him further his reading skills. He enjoys reading! When I say he enjoys reading, I mean that I don’t have to twist his arm to read. If he gets bored he’ll pick up a book and start reading own his own. He’ll read just about anything.
- My oldest daughter is 4. She is more at a 1st grade level for reading. She can do more but she likes pretending like she doesn’t know. I’m not to sure why she does that. But if I tell her she can’t go to kindergarten unless she knows how to read, everything she said didn’t know miraculously comes to her. She spent so much time relying on my son that she wants someone to do the work for her even though she knows how to do it. We are working on her reading comprehension right now. Once she gets that, it’s on to chapter books for her too.
- My youngest daughter just turned 2 in March. She is so cute! They all are cute, but she specializes in using her cuteness to get out of things. With her we did fail a little bit because we weren’t as consistent with her as we were with the other two. I was so wrapped up in trying to manage 3 kids and the house that I wasn’t sticking to my basics. Even with that she is still advanced. She can read at an early preschool level. She knows and recognizes her ABC’s, counts and recognize numbers up to 40, and knows her colors. I am getting back on the horse with her this summer and should have her reading sentences in about 6 months. I’ll keep you updated on her progress.
So, why so much emphasis on reading? Reading, for us, is the foundation of all learning. Think about it. If you know how to read and understand instructions you can do just about anything. We display that when we buy a piece of furniture that comes in a hundred pieces. Most of us read the instructions to find out how to put it together. Without reading and comprehension skills it would be harder to put it all together. I focus on reading and build on that. By the time the kids learn how to read they are really interested in learning and are excited to learn more and new things.
Here is my 10 step success plan for teaching kids to read:
1. Have a goal: I knew I always wanted intelligent children. I didn’t have a specific curriculum but I had an idea of what I wanted them to learn, and I started there. Once the kids mastered that I found the next step for them. For example, I wanted them to learn the ABCs first. That was followed by numbers (1-20) and then reading.
2. Confessions: Before my kids were born I confessed over them. I asked God for beautiful/handsome, healthy, smart kids. As they got older I added confidence, and obedience. You want to get in the habit of speaking positively in regards to your children. I love doing this because it reminds me of my desires for my children. Faith comes by hearing and hearing.
3. Your baby can read! I love my mother-in-law for getting this program for us. I wanted to get it but I was somewhat skeptical. Since I had it for free I decided to try it. I remember after the first month I was trying to get him to read and he couldn’t. I was like, “This thing doesn’t work.” But we kept at it. In month 2 he started recognizing different words on the flash cards. I have used this program on my 2 oldest and it has worked like a charm. I started using it on my youngest until some of the DVDs got scratched. I highly recommend it. Don’t be fooled by some of the people saying it’s just memorization. Memorization is how we teach, period. How did your baby learn to say mama? It was by you constantly telling him/her (as you point to yourself), “Mama.” No child is born with reading skills or speaking skills. You have to constantly teach them.
4. Educational toys: On my sons first birthday I asked everyone to get him educational toys or books for his birthday. Thankfully everyone understood and we received so many toys. Why did I do that? Because I didn’t want any deterrent from the goal. Every toy had a purpose other than to just be played with. We were able to keep that going for about 3 years. We lost sight of that and allowed non-educational items in for 2 years and all that did was create clutter. Don’t think your kids won’t have fun because these are educational toys. Do remember that they are still Toys! I found the kids enjoyed playing with the educational items more so because there was a challenge involved. They were proud of themselves for learning and then mastering the toys.
5. Participation: Those that come in frequent/close contact with your kids need to be a part of the goal. It takes a village to raise a child, but someone has to teach the village to raise them the way you want. We had the privilege of not placing our kids in daycare. We just had a lot of babysitters, thank God! We didn’t ask them to do much, but we did enable them to continue teaching the kids while they were in their care. For example, we would give them a Your Baby Can Read video to watch, or provide books and toys to use with them.
6. Consistency: Kids thrive on schedules. They are born that way. As a baby they ate every 2 or 3 Hours. It is the same thing when they get into the toddler stages. I did the Your Baby Can Read once in the morning after breakfast and once in the afternoon after nap. They knew what was coming next. It may not have been the same exact thing every day, but they knew the blueprint for the day.:
- Your baby can read!
- Reading time with mommy
- Snack time
- Solo playtime
- Playtime with mom
- Lunch time
- Nap time
- Snack time
- Your baby can read!
- Solo play
- Mommy play
- Daddy play
7. Be Patient: Rome was not built in a day. Your child will not read in a day. It will take around 2-3 consistent months to see major results. Celebrate every little result . During this time you want to make sure you keep your frustration to yourself. When they kids fail as babies you don’t want them to see you react. You should treat your frustrations the same way, because a negative reaction from you is only going to discourage and disinterest them.
8. Don’t hold back: Kids can learn more than we give them credit for. I notice many parents are holding their children back from learning more, saying “He/she is just not ready for that.” If your child can learn the latest song/dance then they can learn to read. If your child can figure out how to get out of a crib or playpen, then they can learn to read. Keep at your goal; take it one step at a time. When they have learned one step move them on to the next regardless of age. Also, don’t be afraid to teach them more than one subject at a time. We believe in immersive learning (more to come on that). That simply means teaching with everything you do.
9. Have fun! Just because there is a schedule involved doesn’t mean to you shouldn’t have fun. The main reason my kids enjoy learning is because it is fun. They enjoy the learning process of songs, dance, silly book reading time and random games. Incorporate reading in everyday things. If you are at the grocery store have them read the cereal box. If they only know letters have them point out letters on signs. Be excited when they get things right, since it will encourage them to continue.
10. Dedication: Whatever you do, don’t stop and don’t give up! It takes a lot of time and effort to teach your kids to read. It is easy to get discouraged if the kids aren’t picking things up as fast as you’d like or if it’s hard to keep up with the schedule. If you fall off the horse for a few days/weeks/months it’s okay. It’s never too early to start and never too late to begin again. Get back in the game and pick up where you left off! The important thing is to keep moving forward.
That’s it folks. This is how I got my kids to read by the age of 2! If you have any questions leave a comment.