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Home LEARNING Books & Reading Early Literacy | Teaching Toddlers To Read

With Austin learning to walk at one year old, we continue putting effort in teaching toddlers to read. If this is the first post you land on, my earlier post discussed on our personal encounters in teaching kids to read during pregnancy and infancy. Despite sign language was introduced to Austin as early as 7 month-old, he he didn't seem to react and pick up after 6 months. So, we pictured hiccups and struggles in communication down the road.

Teaching toddlers to read

Time proved otherwise. After a year old, we noticed Austin consistently babbled. Though 'da-da' was his first word, he didn't refer that to Daddy until months later. We sensed he loves books. Flipping, staring, he could spend longer than 15 minutes, sitting still with only books when he was around 12 to 15 month-old. This stage took him to page the book, then grabbing our index finger, pointing at the words, gesturing us to read out for him. And we had to follow strictly like an obedient kid :).

After Austin reached 14 month-old, 'Your Baby Can Read' DVDs series took over to babysit him. A gift from his auntie, we played it everyday, following the instructions given. Every screening was less than 30 minutes. Although we were skeptical of this approach, our sixth sense encouraged us to experiment. We watched with Austin closely as we played, at the same time repeating the words whenever we could so that it was more like an interactive screening rather than one-way kind. To our delight, he impressed us, uttering words he picked up from the 'Your Baby Can Read' such as arms up, wave and clap, in addition to touching to his body parts. And ours too. At 18 month-old, Austin began to consistently finger-pointing to stuff that he was interested in, though it was considerably late compares to his peers.

A leap in language development, this moment onwards took Austin to communicate with us, gesturing often, taking instructions, talking constantly mainly the two-syllable one-word kind such as there-dee (Daddy) and sir-ker (circle). While he was playing independently, he was sometimes spotted humming! To get Austin sitting down for his meal, we sometimes write words or draw shapes since he is not fond of eating. One day, he started to touch his ear when I wrote 'ear', then point to wall when I wrote 'wall'. With over 20 words that day, he seemed to associate words to objects. That was the moment we accidentally discovered that he can read, at 21 month-old!!

More Tips For Teaching Kids To Read

Visit library and book stores!! Aside from browsing and shopping at book stores, we take him to public library to borrow children's books. Trying to make it a weekly routine, the least is once a month. Allowing him to explore a place where books are plentiful and overflowing, he is likely to make this haven his second home. Grinning all the time as long as he is there, indicating full of fun and excitement. Habit tends to mold behavior, thus we practice reading bedtime stories before the light goes off. Sticking to his 'old' favorites, we read together - 'I love you always and forever', followed by saying grace to God with 'Hush, Little One'.
Having said all above, it is very important to make reading fun. Blending positive spirits primarily cheerful, joyful, humorous expressions, variety of tones, use words that rhyme and coupling 'fun' actions (a good act that your child likes, for our case - Austin likes to run in a round) as words jump out of mouth. One of our favorites - we like to build shapes with Austin. Using wooden blocks, if it is a huge round, we shout loudly 'Big Circle' while the smaller circle, we whisper 'Little Circle'. Then, I'd sing him 'Mommy in BIG circle, Austin gets tickled'. And, the poor guy would run around, away from momma, trying to escape!! There is one word that we're very happy to use overwhelmingly - HAPPY!!. I started by calling him 'Happy boy' when I pick him up from play school. But nowadays, this cheeky guy tends to call out excessively. From happy shoes, happy star, happy semi circle to happy big bubble, this approach in way get him to make practice on a two-word phrase as he speaks.

Next, we look forward to introduce phonics. Don’t miss out my next highlight - teaching aids or materials in learning how to read that works for our little one.