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Learning to Read

Learning to read is one of the most important things your child can do. Find out about how kids learn to read and how you can help your child.

How children learn to read
Children learn to read in steps:

  • They learn that letters make up words and that words mean something.
  • They learn what words mean.
  • They learn to put words together to make phrases and sentences.
  • They start to understand the meaning of sentences and stories.

Good readers know how to:

  • Figure out the meaning(s) of words
  • Sound words out
  • Learn when words make sense and when they don't
  • Separate words into syllables
  • Understand the difference between vowels and consonants
  • Find rhymes
  • Remember the shapes and names of letters
  • Learn lots of vocabulary
  • Practice writing letters and words
  • Make links between stories, pictures and situations. They can compare stories and pictures to real things that have happened to them.

Good readers come from families who:

  • Read together
  • Use language a lot
  • Support each other

Read more about reading:

Next: Ways of Teaching Reading.

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National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders

Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
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