How to Help A Child Read – 4 Tips

How to Help A Child Read – 4 Tips



Parents frequently ask us during speech therapy sessions  about how to help a child read, and it’s understandable that they are interested in this important skill. Reading is essential for later academic achievement. According to one research study, how well 7-year-olds read predicts their earnings 35 years later.


Speech-language skills are tied to reading abilities. The critical skills preschoolers develop to be ready to read (like phonemic awareness and phonological awareness) can be taught during speech therapy. In a recent New York Times article, Tiffany P. Hogan, director of the Speech and Language Literacy Lab at the MGH Institute of Health Professions in Boston said: “What we’re seeing is that there are a lot of children who didn’t get the stimulation they need.” during the Covid-19 pandemic, and so children’s early speech and reading abilities, which are intertwined, did not properly develop.


The article notes the lack of consistency in learning reading basics due to months spent outside of the classroom. Speech therapy online is a viable option for families looking for consistent services that will be convenient to access irrespective of the disruptions we’ve all experienced during the pandemic.


How to Help A Child Read – 4 Tips


Here are some practical recommendations for how to help a child read. This can be applied to children from preschool to school-age as well.

1. Reading Should Be a Regular Home Activity


Make reading a habit for your children, and they will learn to like it. You can:

  • Take them to the library as a weekly or monthly activity
  • Read at the same time every day (e.g., after lunch)
  • Turn off the technology for an hour at the same time every day/week and use that time to read
  • Watch a movie together and then read the book that was adapted into that film

The goal is to make reading a fun part of your family’s daily routine.

2. Choose a Book at Your Child’s Level & Interest


A child should read books at their level to develop as a strong, and happy reader. A good rule of thumb is that if your child makes more than one reading error every 10 words, the reading level is probably too challenging. A good resource might be your child’s teacher.


Parents, ask your local librarian for assistance in identifying interesting books appropriate for your child’s age and reading level. According to research, if a child is passionate about a subject, they work harder to read the book.


Finally, if your child insists on checking out a book that is above reading level, don’t argue about it. More power to them if trying to read Harry Potter with her buddies is motivating.

3. Audiobooks Help Listening Comprehension


Reading comprehension gets better when children read and listen to books at the same time, according to research. This is especially true for children with shorter attention spans and poor reading abilities. This is because they are also using their listening comprehension skills to understand the text and processing is allotted for decoding (just reading the words without worrying about what the meaning is).


Audiobooks, of course, do not replace one-on-one reading time with a parent. Reading to your child is beneficial on several levels. It improves reading fluency, parent-child bonding, and language abilities, for example.

4. Encourage Your Child to Tell You a Story


Have your child tell you about their day or another experience. Nothing complex. For example, a typical first story can be: “I like breakfast. I like pancakes. I want more tomorrow. Write it down as they tell it to you. Then point to the words as you read them. This helps improve early literacy skills like print awareness and letter knowledge.


Don’t be surprised if your child begins to identify words like “I” or “like” after a lot of rereading. (As your child learns new words, write them down on cards and save them in a “word bank” for them to review later.)

Did You Know?


25% of all children with ADHD also have dyslexia, which makes learning to read more difficult and time consuming. If your child  is frustrated by books, use the suggestions we’ve noted  to help them improve their abilities and make reading more enjoyable.

Reading With Teletherapy


If you’ve been considering speech therapy for your child because of concerns about their reading comprehension, decoding skills, language abilities, or other areas of communication, summer is a fantastic time to start.

Speech therapy online is an effective, convenient and consistent option. Virtual speech therapy also allows children who are getting speech therapy services in school to maintain their progress over the summer and avoid that summer slide.


Therapy Works Together – Online Speech Therapy for Children and Adults


We care about every child and adult achieving their speech, language and communication goals. You can start speech therapy online now with a certified speech language therapist. We’ll discuss your personal needs, develop an individualized treatment plan, and schedule affordable online therapy sessions online at your convenience.

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