Expert Iconexpert advice MORE

Teaching an Early Reader

Homeschooling Expert Advice from Isabel Shaw

Q: I am having a hard time teaching my six-year-old to read. It just doesn't seem to be clicking. I do a letter a week and we work on the sounds it makes. Do you have any other suggestions?

A: If you're doing a lot of pencil and paper work, that might be your problem. I would continue working on the sounds of the letters, but try a different method. For instance, rather than writing the letters, which can be difficult and often tedious for six-year-olds, I would try turning it unto a verbal game or contest. Let's say the letter you're working on is "S." Maybe Saturday can be "S" day. When you're driving your car and you come to a stop sign, point out and emphasize the "S": "Oh! I found an 'S' word!" Maybe you'll pass a "Sam's" club or "Sally's Luncheonette." The first words my girls learned to read were the names of gas stations! (You can tell my family spends a lot of time on the road!) How about "silly salad" for lunch or "sausages" for breakfast? Do this throughout the day. We also like to cut out pictures from magazines and catalogs that represent the letter we're working on. Paste the colorful images on construction paper to form a visual alphabet book.

If you or your child are feeling frustrated, perhaps it's time to take a break. Some children are simply not ready to read at six-years-old. Sounding out letters is just one aspect of learning to read. Developing a love for stories and books is just as important. This is accomplished by reading to your child every day. Good luck!

More on: Expert Advice

Isabel Shaw is a freelance writer and homeschooling mom of 15 years. She and her husband Ray homeschool their two daughters, Jessica and Amanda. Besides being a contributor to FamilyEducation.com, Shaw has written for Home Education Magazine, The Link, Homeschooling Horizons Magazine, The Homeschool Gazette, and other publications.

Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.


6 Tips to Help Your Marriage Survive a New Baby
When the going gets tough, follow these tips to help your marriage during the stressful newborn months.

Find Today's Newest & Best Children's Books!
Looking for newly released books for your child? Try our new Book Finder tool to search for new books by age, type, and theme, and create reading lists for kids!

15 Not-So-Scary Halloween Movies for Kids
Halloween doesn’t always have to be a fright. Take the scare-factor down a notch by watching one of these not-too-scary Halloween movies for kids .

Ready for Kindergarten?
Try our award-winning Kindergarten Readiness app! This easy-to-use checklist comes with games and activities to help your child build essential skills for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Facebook icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks