Posted in Reading

Teach Kids to Read in 5 Easy Steps!

Scroll down to view the first step to learning how to read and click each step to find the skill set your child needs to master.

  1. Develop Pre-Reading Skills First (matching, direction, rhyming, and concepts of print)
  2. Learn Letter Sounds and Names
  3. Blend Letter Sounds together
  4. Reading CVC words and Word Families
  5. Understanding Vowels (Reading Tricky and Long vowel sounds)

Step 1: Develop these Pre-reading Skills First.

What are pre-reading skills? Pre-reading skills are the skills needed before a child can begin to learn how to read. A simplified list of pre-reading skills: matching, direction, motor skills, concepts of print, language skills, and rhyming. Of course, we must develop oral forms of language with newborns and toddlers. Pre-reading skills can also help develop oral language skills.  The 3 FREE worksheet packets below will help develop pre-reading skills and comprehension.


  1. Matching 
    • Young children should learn to match shapes, patterns, letters, and then words. Part of what we do when reading is matching. That is why many adult readers can understand or read material with large amounts of errors.
  2. Concepts of Print
    • It is fine to make up stories at bedtime but reading an actual book helps to emphasize the concept of print. Letters make words when they come together and words make sentences when they are put together. Sentences are put together to make a story. 
    • Teach children how to hold a book properly. Tell them that words and symbols mean something. See if they recognize logos. When reading books to children point out the front cover, back cover, title, author, and illustrator. Teach them how to differentiate the front cover from the back cover of a book.
    • To teach about author and illustrator, say “Eric Carle is the author. What does an author do?” Teach the response “an author writes the words.” Do the same when it comes to the illustrator.
  3. Motor Skills
    • A motor skill is the ability to cause a predetermined movement outcome. Motor learning helps children perform the necessary tasks through practice. Infants love to imitate. Turning the pages of a board book is a great way to build fine motor skills. Every home and every classroom should have a small library. Please buy books for your infant. Soft feel and board books are designed especially for the infant to toddler age group. Use our affiliate link to discover infant and toddler books on amazon
  4. Develop Direction and Sequencing Skills
    • From the beginning of this article, you can already tell that reading books is much more than just knowing the alphabet and the sounds each letter makes. Some adults make the mistake of teaching children sounds, blends, and memorization of words without developing basic skills. Understanding direction and sequencing is a skill that is often skipped when teaching a child how to read. Direction: we read left to right and top to bottom. Sequencing: what comes first, second, third or first, middle, last. 
    • Children must be able to recall what they have read. Children who learn how to sound out words but never learn how to recall events of a story will struggle with reading comprehension.
    • Early intervention can prevent comprehension issues. Build these pre-literacy skills at the toddler stage. This can be done by reading books to little ones and asking questions about the story as you read. To take it a step further, you can ask a child to re-tell the story in the proper order. Do the same with a child’s day, have them retell what they did during the day, in the proper order. A teacher can create a daily schedule and end the preschool day with an afternoon circle time where students tell their favorite part of the day. Ask questions like “What did you do before, we played outside?” This builds sequencing skills. Check out our Unabashed Kids sequencing worksheets for kids age 2 and above.
  5. Develop Rhyming and Language Skills
    • Children may know how to speak their native language but may not recognize some phonemes (sounds) that make up the English vocabulary. Silly songs and rhymes can help draw their attention to these phonemes. Check out the activities below to help build phonemic awareness in toddlers.

Posted in Reading

10 Painless Ways to Get Children to Read Books

Develop a love for reading with these 10 easy tips.

You see children at the library with their faces buried in a book or maybe you see them reading when you pick your child up from school.  Have you ever felt that your kids should love books just as much as the other children? Do not worry, most parents have felt this way before.  Many parents are consumed with hectic routines that they don’t get enough time to sit down and read with their children.

Here are some great activities on how to encourage your preschooler to read more and enjoy it. Even if your kid doesn’t like reading, these tips will make them a reader in no time! Develop a love for reading with these 10 creative and painless tips to get your child to pick up a book.

1. Create a reading routine.

Setting a routine is the best way to get your kids reading more. If you have a book reading routine before bedtime, in the morning, or during afternoon quiet time, your kids will expect the same every day. Take a look at our Unabashed List of bedtime stories, you’ll find a book that your child will love. Preschool teachers can read bedtime stories before naptime, to expose children to books daily. Create a reading routine in-school and at home.


2. Kids should have fun when reading.

We all choose to do things more often when we know it is fun. So before you ask your child to read a book, ask yourself if you are offering them a fun time or a forced time? Reading shouldn’t be a chore, but instead, it should feel like playtime. Kids should have fun when reading. Try these fun activities during reading time:

  • Speak about the characters in funny voices.
  • Let children dress up like the characters in the book.
  • Let them read in fun spots around the house, i.e. the bathtub, a closet, blanket tent, outside on the grass, etc.
  • Give them a fun new reading gadget, i.e. a new bookmark, a reading headlamp, a book cover, a pointer or reading guider, etc.

3. Do you as an adult set a good reading example for the children around you?

I love reading! My love for reading comes from my father. As I child, I saw him read every day. He read the bible, newspapers, and novels. Every morning, while he read the newspaper, I would sit next to him and read Winnie the Pooh books. If you show your child how much you love reading books, they will love it too. Kids love following other’s actions, especially mom and dad. Share your favorite childhood stories and books with them. My mother read Anansi stories to me when I was little; they were stories she was introduced to during her childhood.

Reading with a father
Photo by Picsea on Unsplash


Do you as an adult set a good reading example for the children around you? Show children what you are reading and how you started loving books. Tell them that no matter your age, you can always read books and love them at the same time.  This creates a positive reading example and they will be more inclined to like book reading. If you are not an devoted reader, now is a great time to build that habit.

4. Have you ever tried playing make-believe when reading a book?

Kids enjoy playing make-believe. Encourage a child to express emotions just like the characters in the storybook you are reading. This is a great social-emotional activity that teaches empathy. You can even use props and dress up for the show. Children will love the storybook even more after acting it out. So, have you ever tried playing make-believe when reading a book to with or to your children? If not, what are you waiting for?

5. Read the same book more than once.

Sometimes, us adults get stuck on diversifying and introducing our kids to new things. Doing this is great, but we have to give kids time to enjoy the things that have taken interest in. If a child is interested in one book and doesn’t want to move on, that’s ok! Let them continue to read the book that they love. Repetition can help improve their reading skills. This also helps them think deeper about the book’s little details that they may have not noticed before. Read the same book more than once.

6. Do you have a reading corner in your classroom or home?

Build a little library or a reading corner in your classroom or home. Set all the books so that they are within a child’s reach. Have a seating area next to the bookshelf, so that children can get comfortable while reading. If you want to get creative, use a tent, teepee, or fort as their reading space. They’ll feel like they are living an adventure in some fantasy land. Do you have a reading corner in your classroom or home? Do the children like that area? If not, ask them to help you decorate their reading corner. Make it a fun and comfortable place to be.

Kids who see books most of the time tend to become better readers than those who don’t see books. The results of a 20 year study led by University of Nevada sociology professor Mariah Evans, conclude that books in the home are more important to a child’s success than a parents education level or career. If your child spends most of the time in the living room, make sure your living room has a lot of books to read. If he or she spends more time in their room, make a reading corner inside the room. Add magazines and books related to their age group.

girl child reading
Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash
Child Reading
Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

7. Have a child that loves T.V. and movies but won’t pick up a book? Read books that are available as movies.

Have a child that loves T.V. and movies but won’t pick up a book? Pick a book that has been turned into a movie or a movie that has been turned into a book. Reading books that are available as movies will show a child that their imaginations can be just as entertaining as the television.

Fall in love with the movie first then read the book. Is there a t.v. show or movie that your child or the children in your classroom loves? The kids in my preschool were obsessed with Frozen. So, whenever I could find a Frozen book at the library, I read it to the class. 

Read the book first and then watch the movie. This will give them the motivation to complete the book and get to see if their imagination and creative thinking were what is acted out in the movie.

8. Start a children’s book club

Another awesome way to get children to love reading is to start a new book club. Ask the kids to pick a name for the club. Include as many friends as you can, and encourage them all to read books. Make it a social activity and if a physical club isn’t possible host a virtual club.

For preschoolers and lower elementary: choose a book that all club members will read in one meeting and then discuss it. Your preschoolers will love that and having a club is such a cool thing! 

For older kids: Discuss chapters of the book once a week for about a month. Have snacks, let them talk, and play during this time. This is a great way to build positive friendships with other children.

Develop a love for reading in black girls
Photo by Suad Kamardeen on Unsplash

9. When it comes to reading, let kids have the last say on what to read.

Reading is much more than just handing kids a book. Let them explore their own interest. You can offer a lot of options and ask kids to pick whatever they like. 


Kids love choices as it gives them a feeling that they are in charge. Having a choice will encourage them to read about their favorite characters. They will love reading when they pick something on their own. Don’t take the choices away from your kids. As a preschool teacher, I would take a few books out of the library a week. The books are based on the week’s theme that I planned lessons around. I would lay the books out and let the class vote on what we were going to read at the end of circle time. Kids are told what to do and how to do it all the time. When it comes to reading, let kids have the last say on what to read.

10. Teach your child phonics.

Children enjoy learning. Reading becomes frustrating to a child who is making no improvements in developing literacy skills. Teach your child phonics to get them more engaged in reading. Encourage them as they read, even if you hear errors in pronunciation. Have them repeat after you to pronounce words correctly. Tell children why words are spelled and pronounced a certain way. Define words for them and if you do not know the definition, be honest. Teach your child how to us a physical or online dictionary.

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