Let us remember: One book, one pen, one child, and one teacher can change the world.

Malala Yousafzai

Teaching a child to read is fun.  Start now.  It’s seriously never too early.  You don’t need fancy curriculums or an early childhood degree.  I have neither and my daughter Piper was reading at age 3.   Piper is now 10 and is reading way above her grade level.  She was so advanced entering first grade we opted for Mandarin Immersion school.   She now speaks and reads Mandarin as well, but all of that credit goes to her amazing Mandarin teachers.   It’s Oli & Milo’s turn to learn to read now, and big sister Piper has been helping teach them.

Step One is simply to read to your child.  Start right away.   We actually started in the NICU with Oli.   It’s a wonderful bonding experience and it teaches your child to enjoy reading.   Read to your child daily.  Visit your local library, I bet they have a reading hour for babies and toddlers.    Our local library has a reading hour during the week for stay at home parents and one on the weekend for working parents.   I find that all kinds of awesome.

Repetition.  Read those same books over and over.  We have a few favorites that we all have the words memorized.  Llama Llama Red Pajama & Chugga-Chugga Choo-Choo are Oli’s favorites.

Pick books that your child is interested in.  Oli loves garbage trucks right now, so we have invested in a few Truck books.

Read everything to your child from cereal boxes to street signs.  In no time, your child will recognize some common words like stop and Target.

Read on your own.  Read newspapers, read magazines, and read books.  Your child is watching.  If she sees you enjoying reading, she will view reading as an enjoyable hobby.


Games and Apps!  There are so many fun ways to teach your child to read.  Pinterest is full of fun learning games. I just saw an awesome game where you use a china marker, write words on dive sticks to form a sentence and throw them into the pool or bathtub.      The App center on your phone is also full of awesome resources.  Piper loved ABCmouse as a child.

The tips above were easy ways to start the reading adventure.  Soon you will be ready to dive in and actively teach your curious little one to read.  There are so many ways to teach your child to read.  The two most common methods are sight words and phonics.

Sight Words Vs. Phonics – Hooked on Phonics was a big deal when I was a child.  I remember the dusty portfolio in my parents closet.   I don’t know if it helped me learn to read because I honestly don’t remember using it.  Sight words were the standard method when my daughter was small.    Phonics is the method of teaching children to read which focuses on the individual sounds of letters, or groups of letters, and blending them together. Words are broken down and sounded out (decoded) and then blended together to reveal what the word says.  Sight words are the basis of the whole-word approach in which readers are encouraged to recognize the whole word rather than breaking down the individual sounds of each letter within the word.  I think both ways work.  Every child learns differently, so I don’t really understand the whole debate.   We have recently started with sight words with Oli.  When he get’s a little older, we will incorporate phonics as well.  

The Dolch word list, compiled by Edward William Dolch and published in 1948, lists the 220 most commonly used words in the English language.  It’s basically like 75% of the English language.  This is a good place to start with sight words.   Teaching sight words are easy, show the child the word, say the word and have them repeat after you.  You can use flash cards, chalk on the sidewalk, or grab a ball and a sharpie and write the words on it.  Then toss the ball back and forth repeating the words.  There really is no wrong way to teach sight words.  Scroll down for a free flashcard download.

Some of our favorite sight word resources –  

Youtube is a killer resource for sight words.   Oli loves the sight word videos from Have Fun Teaching the best.  He dances and repeats the words.  It’s pretty cute.


Learning Resources Pop For Sight Words Game is always a favorite in our house on game night.  Right now, Oli just repeats the word then takes the piece and runs around the house saying it.

I love a multitasker, this swaddle from Cooper Place has sight words on it to practice anywhere!   It’s way easier to keep up with than flash cards.


Download & Print Sight Word Flash Cards for FREE.




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