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Tips for teaching your child to read

Teach your 3-6 year old to read the no fail way!

Teaching your child to read isn’t about competition or having the smartest kid. It’s about teaching them in a way that is proven to be successful in order to give them confidence going into school. Struggling with reading can be an extremely humiliating and frustrating process for children. And as much as we all LOVE teachers, there’s a lot going on in a kindergarten classroom. Lots of distractions and lots of kids. Teaching them to read at home before they enter kindergarten has been the best thing I’ve done for my kids, educationally. 

Tips for reading success:

  1. Use the right method. I cannot say enough good things about the DISTAR method. I’ve used the book Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons with 3 children before starting kindergarten and it worked wonderfully for all of them. After the 100 days of lessons (only 3 months!) each child was reading at a second grade level with great comprehension. 
  2. Know your child. Some kids are eager at 3.5 and others won’t be eager until a little later. The book ensures that all kids CAN learn to read by 4 or 5 years. This is true in my experience so far. However, all children are different. I started at 3.5 years with two of my children and 5.5 with my third child. This was the perfect timing for each of them.
  3. Put on your patience. This can be a frustrating process for parents. Reading lessons are 20 minutes a day and we all know little kids have difficulty focusing for 20 minutes. However, after they learn to read and can grab their favorite books they’ll love sitting for longer than that to read to themselves. It’s worth it. Just stay calm!
  4. Be consistent. The book suggests, and I agree, that you should do the reading lessons 20 minutes per day without skipping days. You’ll be through this in 3 months and your child will be reading at about a second grade level with good comprehension! It’s worth it to be consistent.
  5. This is a great time to practice how sounds should be formed. I’ve found that learning to read properly has helped my kids get through speech problems and learn to say sounds properly. This will take a little work on your part but it isn’t difficult and very worthwhile!
  6. Make a chart from 1 to 100. Have your child put stickers or color in the boxes once a lesson is complete. Seeing progress is encouraging!

Teach your child to read! No tears, no stress!

You can do this! My favorite thing about this method is that it is EASY! The book tells you exactly what to do and even what to say. It couldn’t be easier. I’m the hugest fan of this method. My kids love reading and I believe it’s because it was never frustrating for them. This method is quick and painless and they see progress daily!

Tell me about your experience!


  1. jeanine says

    I just bought that book as my almost 4 yr old asked me to teach her to read! I’m happy to hear you had great success with it! I just need to get myself through that parent section now. oh vie!

  2. says

    My daughter pretty much taught herself to read right after she turned three. We read a lot together. The most unusual thing that I think helped her is we always have the captions on when we watch tv or movies.

  3. says

    We used this book with my little girl. We started it a few months before she turned 4 and at 4 1/2 she is reading fluently, everything she can get her hands on. I was the same way as a child. She was begging me to teach her to read, and I’m so glad I did and didn’t make her wait until she was “school age”.
    And I have to be completely honest- we only made it to about lesson 75, because I saw it “click” so we just started having her read books instead.
    My son just turned 3, and he may or may not be ready to learn at the same point my daughter was. I really think it’s so important to follow the child’s lead, make learning fun, and not force it.

  4. says

    I taught my daughter to read fluently by age 4 by starting with flash cards, stressing sounds, and just reading to her everyday. I would ask her to try to sound out small words at first using the sounds that we covered with her flash cards. We made a game out of it; seeing how far she could get each day towards a word, and then a sentence. She had a sticker book with each word and sentence written in it. When she would master a word and/or sentence I would initial and date it, and let her put her sticker in the book. She loved her book and we would often use it for review to make certain she remembered what she had learned. It is great that we have these new programs in place to teach reading, among other subjects, but I believe that flash cards and some time, effort, and patience on the part of the parent can be just as effective.

    • says

      Flashcards are great! That’s how I learned to read. This program has been around for at least 40 years, I believe and is a very proven method. It was formed through lots of research at UofO and they believe this method of teaching reading prevents dyslexia and other learning disorders.

  5. Mary Ann says

    We tried the book you mention a while back at maybe 3.5 and it was not a good fit for us. She is 4.5 now and she said she wanted to start learning so I requested it from the library again. They also had “Teach my child to read in 10 minutes a day”. It was similar but for some reason it really seemed to work better for us. Maybe it was that she is just ready now but things are really clicking and she is enjoying it!

  6. Katie says

    Thank you. My daughter just turned three but she can recognize her letters and knows all her sounds. I’m not sure she’s ready to start in on the lessons but I could try in a few months and see what happens!

  7. Ally says

    I used the same book with my daughter. It worked great–the book is a bit dry and I didn’t have the stamina to do it in 3 months, but at some point she turned a corner and she’s doing really well. It felt like having her reading so well before kindergarten gave her a really good transition, and we were confident looking at some more rigorous schools. In the end she is in a Spanish immersion program and doing great.

  8. says

    I used this with my kids 25 years ago! I loved it then and so did they. They are both prolific readers now. I plan to use it with my grandchildren also.

  9. Ilona says

    Hi! I’ve heard also that this method is great. But one thing why i am not using it with my almost 6 year old is that we speak russian at home and i wonder if this method can be used for learning to read in other languages (kind of using the idea but personalising it for our home)? What do you think, would that work? I don’t want to spend money on one more thing that i won’t be able to use, but hearing so much good about it i would love to try.
    Thank in advance x

    • says

      Hi! I am sure this method would work with other languages, but I don’t think it’s been translated into other languages. Wish I could help!

  10. Kate says

    I see so many comments about 3-4 year old (often girls) being eager to sit and learn to read using these types of lessons. Maybe my perception isn’t accurate. At any rate, they often make me feel as though I’m not doing “enough”. I tried a similar book when my son was about 4, and it was like pulling teeth to get him to sit and do it. Mostly because he didn’t want the pressure and it seemed like a chore (even when I rewarded him with stickers and had new picture books as an incentive). He was capable, and was making progress, but I worried about ruining his love of books since he was resisting it so much. At 4.5 he has over 100 sight words, and can read short readers when he wants to. But he has a long way to go to be fluent or confident with anything other than the easy level 1 readers. He just needs more practice. Although I never put negative pressure on him, he still balks at the idea of being on the spot and having to read to me. I’ve seen him looking at picture books, reading a few words to himself. He can read a lot of signs. He loves being read to, and we often spend entire afternoons where I read to him. I read him picture books and chapter books at night. I’ve decided that its not worth the risk of him having a negative association with reading because I tried too hard to get him to do it. He has always participated better when doing tasks a teacher gives him than from me (even in 2 year old preschool). So I’m going to wait and let him learn in kindergarten (he will be newly 5 and one of the youngest in his class starting this fall). I feel like he’s had enough exposure that he will be successful. My question is, am I wrong to wait? Will he be behind if he’s not already reading scores of books before kindergarten? Should I plough through reading lessons even when my child balks? I think the ultimate goal is for them to have a lifelong love of reading. So I’m being purposely careful not to make it seem like a chore. Even though I could teach him to read, and he is academically ready, I feel like i should wait. Would you disagree?

    • says

      Hi! My son was super eager to learn to read but sitting still wasn’t his thing. So we didn’t really sit to do this. We had to be creative. Short sessions worked perfectly for him. One of my daughters, on the other hand, could sit perfectly but wasn’t interested in reading at all. So we waited. They’re all different!

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