At 2 years old, your child is not too young to read on their own. This article is focused on how to teach 2 years old to read following 6 basic steps.
Various studies carried out over the last 20 years have shown that the earlier a child learns to read, the smarter the child will grow up to become because early reading accelerates a child’s mental development.
As your child learns to read, they develop a lot of other skills like concentration and memory retention skills. They also develop important abilities like sound learning, vocabulary, and learn speech and language patterns that boost their communication skills.
These skills are some of the most important educational skills that they would need as they grow, and teaching your child to read at an early age of 2 means helping them develop all of these skills very early in life, and earlier than most of their peers.
And as you may already know, the human brain is like a muscle; the more you challenge it, the sharper it becomes hence teaching your child to read at an early can help them become more intelligent.
Early reading can also help you detect, and solve learning defects in your child at a young age.
Now the question is, how do you teach a 2 years old to read?
It can seem very difficult at that age because most parents think kids are too young to concentrate or learn anything complex but it’s not as difficult as it seems.
There are a lot of programs that parents are using successfully to teach their toddlers to read at very young ages, and from my personal experience with these programs, I have learned that the most important thing is to break everything down into small steps and teach your child one step at a time.
I also discovered that creating fun activities around these different steps and milestones is an important key for helping your child learn to read in as little as 12 weeks.
6 Steps To Teach 2 years Old child To Read
Step One: Letter Identification
This can start from when your baby starts learning how to talk. You can buy one of those alphabet charts with pictures on them, and hang it on the wall in your child’s room.
As soon as they start talking, point out the alphabet to them and help them identify each letter of the alphabet.
Make sure that by the time you are ready to start teaching your child how to read, they can already identify all the alphabets. If they can’t, you’ll have to dedicate two full weeks into teaching them the alphabet. And yes, they can learn it in two weeks if you’re consistent and serious about it.
Step Two: Teach Your Child Phonics
The next step is to develop your child’s phonemic awareness. Developing phonemic awareness or teaching phonics means that your child learns the unique sound that each alphabet makes, and knows how to pronounce them correctly.
All words are made up of smaller units of sounds that have to be pronounced together to form a full word. Drink for instance, is made up of five different letter sounds D-R-I-N-K. Milk also comprises of two unique letter sounds M-ilk.
The sounds are not easily distinguishable in everyday speech because we’re adults and we’re not learning to read. We already learned to combine all the letter sounds so we just say it all as one.
But for a child who is learning to read, words must first be broken down into letter sounds for them because that’s the only way they can learn how to pronounce words.
At this point, you have to teach your child the letter sounds for each alphabet. For instance, they should be able to know that the letter ‘A’ makes the /ah/ sound.
You can dedicate another two weeks into teaching letter sounds for all the alphabets to your child.
At the end of the weeks, you should be able to ask your child “Letter C makes what sound?” to which they should be able to answer correctly for each alphabet.
Step Three: Teach Them How to Blend Two Letter Words
The third step involves teaching your 2 year old how to blend two different letter sounds together to form a single world.
From the previous week’s lesson, your child already knows what each letter sounds like individually. They know what the letter H and the letter E sound like separately but what does it sound like when both letters are put together to form the word ‘HE’?
For the next two weeks, you have to teach your child how to blend as many two letter sounds as possible. There are a lot of charts, programs, and workbooks that you can use for this. You can find all the resources you need here.
Teach them how to pronounce words like To, On, Am, We, In, Up, On, As, Ox, Me, Be, At, Am, As, An, Us, It, If, Lo, Ox, Of, Pa, La, Fa, Da, Pa. Me, and other two letter words, especially those ones that are commonly used in children’s reading texts.
Don’t just stop at teaching them how to recognize and pronounce these words, it helps to create some fun activities around the topic like using flashcards to identify and pronounce the words they have learned, or having them read out and trace out or cross-match the words.
All of these will help you child become more familiar with the words you have taught them.
Step Four: Teach Them to Blend Three Letter Words
Next, you have to teach your child how to blend three letter words. However, it helps to start with words that rhyme easily.
Pick each two letter word blend that you have taught them, and teach them how to blend it with other letters to make three letter words.
For instance, you can teach them all the three letter blends for the word ‘at’ such as Mat, Cat, Bat, Sat, Rat, Fat, Eat, and so on.
Don’t forget to create some activities to help them get more familiar with these words. Activities like ‘fill in the gap’ and ‘read and match’ are particularly helpful.
At this point you can also start teaching your child how to recognize pictures that match the words they are learning. Pictures are very helpful cues when teaching your 2 years old to read because they may forget the word, but the picture can help them remember what the word or missing letter should be.
Step Five: Help Them Memorize Sight Words
For the next two weeks, you have to teach, and help your child memorize sight words.
Sight words are words that are commonly used in children’s texts. Your child should be able to recognize, decode and pronounce as many of these words as possible.
It is important to note that some of these words defy ‘phonemic logic’ so it’s just better to have your child memorize them.
Words like Pn, Ty, Xy, are examples of sight words that your child should memorize.
You can print out a comprehensive list of sight words from the internet, or buy a chart from the bookstores.
Step Six: Teach Them to Read Sentences Made up Of Two and Three Letter Words
You don’t have to wait until your child knows all of the words in the dictionary before they can start reading. After teaching them as many two and three letter word blends as possible, and helping them to memorize sight words, they are ready to start reading- it’s time for some practical.
Start buying children’s books that are entirely written with two and three letter words.
Some common sentences you’ll find in such books include:
A fat cat sat on a mat
The man got fat
Rob can mop up the mud
The bug hid in the big rug
Mom got tom a dog
The Box fell in a well
You can buy five books at a time, and have your child read them over and over again until they can read all five books on their own fast and fluently.
Make sure you buy story books, and books that cut across different subjects so that your child’s vocabulary can expand even beyond what you have already taught them. They can continue to learn new words as they read more books.
If you’re unsure of which books to buy, you can sign up for the Children Learning Reading program that is targeted at 2 year olds.
This was the program I used for my Son and I was quite impressed with the results. The program was developed to teach toddlers specifically to read fluently in 12 weeks, and they provide all the resources you need, including stories, exercises and fun activities that accelerate the learning process.
After successfully taking your child through all six steps, you would have been able to build a solid foundation and all you have to do is to expand your child’s vocabulary by teaching them more letter words per time.
For instance, teach them four-letter words next, and buy books that they can read. From there, you can move up to five, six, seven, and more letter words to expand their vocabulary and reading ability as they grow.