You may hear that you can teach your baby to read, but you may not believe it. Though I know nothing about that, I can tell you that your kids can read long before they go into kindergarten. There is no magic trick to it and you do not have to be a certified teacher to teach your child to read. They won’t wipe through Gone With the Wind before kindergarten, but they can learn to recognize and read some words and even short story books before they ever set foot inside of a classroom. You just have to know a few things about how children learn.
One thing I never understood about learning was that learning to read is about memorization as much as it is everything else. I was always told memorizing is not the best way to learn, but my daughter’s kindergarten teacher assured me that this is how children learn to read. They learn to put sounds and words together at some point, but early one, they are memorizing how the word looks. This means you should read to your children if you want to teach your child to read. Point at each word as you say it. They are going to pick this up quicker than you realize.
I did not think such a thing would work, but my two year old son can already recognize the titles of his favorite TV shows. We go to the On Demand station and he can pick out Wiggles and Blue’s Clue accurately, as well as the subtitle to each episode listed. If I try to turn on the one he has no asked for, he lets me know it. He is actually looking at the words on the screen and choosing the one he has memorized. He is just a few months shy of three years old, and I am amazed that he has this skill. He can’t read a book to me, but he can read some words.
Flashcards and other methods to teach your child to read before school can simply be too complicated. You do not have to choose something like I did, but you can find something similar. Children under five have to be very interested in what they are doing or you are going to lose their interest quickly. Find out what they like the most, and use that as a way to get them to view words and then make associations to those words as you go. You may be surprised what they can do long before you thought they should have been able to do it.
If you are just not sure what you should be doing to teach your child to read, that is okay. You can find early reading programs for children under five, or for kids in school that may be struggling with reading. These programs vary in content and method, but many have great benefits. These are often fun enough for your children to pick up the lessons without losing interest while still offering solid learning principles. Research each of these programs and see what you think fits best for your family and get on with learning.