Can 2-year-olds learn to read? How to teach a 2-year-old to read? I’m happy to share with you, my personal experience of teaching my own toddler son to read.
Before I had my son, I was not one to imagine teaching my own future child to read one day. Reading to him, yes. But teaching him to read? That thought never struck me.
Instead, I did think of sending my child to a phonics class in future to help him learn reading. Because that’s what I saw my sister did with her two daughters.
Shortly after I had my baby, for the first time I came across an advertisement promoting a baby reading program. I was sold and I bought the rather expensive program. I was so looking forward to the day that my baby could read. That never happened.
That never happened.
After 4 months of lessons, I didn’t see any signs of my baby reading. So I stopped his lessons and shelved the baby reading program. I didn’t want to continue having him sit on my lap and look at words flashed across the computer screen on a daily basis.
But later on, when he was older, I was introduced to a children’s reading program which I began to use on my child, Kaden when he was 2 years and 3 months old. The highly-effective Children Learning Reading program was developed by a father, Jim Yang who successfully taught his own children to read as toddlers.
I’ve personally experienced success in using this program in teaching my child to read. Without this program, maybe I would still be on the path of sending my son to a phonics enrichment class when he turned 4 or 5 years old and these lessons could easily cost a lot more.
If you want to teach your 2-year-old child to read, I have a few tips to share with you:
1. Read to Your Toddler
Regardless of how young your child is, read to him regularly. It’s a great bonding time for both of you. It also introduces him to the world of printed text, and let him associate stories with the text in the books.
As he grows older, consistently use your index finger to point beneath each word that you read. It lets him know that we read from left to right, and also sounds are connected with words.
2. Assess Your Toddler’s Readiness to Read
If she is ready, start her on her reading lessons. Remember children at this age learn best through play and fun. Keep the lessons fun and also short to cater to their short attention span.
If your child doesn’t seem interested at this stage, try again in a few months’ time. The intention is to get her interested in learning to read, not to put her off the idea of learning. She might be ready maybe 2 or 4 months later. It’s okay.
3. Start Lessons When Your Toddler is Speaking More Clearly
Usually, kids start to speak more clearly around 2.5 years old, so you might like to start his reading lessons then.
But your child’s speech development could be more advanced, and you can start earlier if you deem he is ready.
My son’s speech was not advanced. At 2 years and 3 months old, he was speaking more words, but not in sentences yet. He could speak rather clearly, though. Around that time, I also noticed his intellectual ability was developing quickly. So I decided to start him on the Children Learning Reading program.
4. Help Your Toddler to Develop Phonemic Awareness
As I mentioned earlier, I saw my two nieces attended enrichment phonic classes. So I thought I would do the same for my son when he was about 4 or 5 years old. I had a vague idea that learning phonics would help a child learn to read.
What I didn’t know then was that I could be helping my toddler to develop phonemic awareness first before he even starts to learn to read.
Phonemic awareness is the skill of identifying the smallest units of letter sounds. This skill would go towards helping him to progress well with a phonics and phonemic awareness based reading program in future.
So when my toddler was 17 months old, I focused more on helping him develop his phonemic awareness skills through listening to phonics songs, singing to him the phonics songs, and letting him play with phonic toys.
While my son was having fun playing, he was also picking up phonemic awareness skill.
You could also slow down certain words in your daily conversation with your child. For example, “Do you want more b-r-ea-d?” “Would you like to d-r-in-k water?” Let your child understand that words are made up of letter sounds. This would take repetition and consistency.
5. Choose a Phonics and Phonemic Awareness Based Reading Program
There are many baby reading programs that teach babies to read through using the whole word method. Hundreds or thousands of words and pictures are flashed before the young child. Through repetition, over time the child will be memorizing and recognizing these word shapes.
However, I prefer a phonics and phonemic awareness based reading program where the toddler is taught to sound out letters, decode words, and blend letter sounds to pronounce words.
This way, the child will be more successful in sounding out unfamiliar words on her own in future. Studies have also shown that phonemic awareness instruction programs are more successful in producing fluent readers.
2-year-olds children can certainly learn to read when there’s a nurturing, patient and loving adult who will take the time to teach, using a simple, step-by-step and effective toddler reading program. You can read my review of the very effective Children Learning Reading program here.
If you have any questions or comments about what I’ve just shared, simply leave them here and I’ll get back to you soon!