EDUCATION: Multisensory ways to encourage early reading

17 April 2018
Reading time3 minutes

Struggling with reading is no fun – for you or your child. If you start to sweat when your child brings home their overnight reader, you might want to try some of these fun and engaging techniques to help them with their reading.

Use fridge magnets

Useful for more than holding up your shopping list, fridge magnets can be a fun way to make words together. Ask your child to use the magnets to spell words from their homework list.

Use thin air

Get your child to write the word in the air. This is a common technique used by teachers and can help students to remember the word more easily. Encourage them to really picture the word in their head as they write it.

Use foam or felt letters

Using touch is another way to reinforce letter memory. Buy some foam or felt letters, or make some using stencils and cutting them out. Your child can trace over the letter with their fingers while they say the letter aloud.

Use shaving foam

Bring out a baking tray and spray some shaving foam over it. Take your child’s list of spelling or sight words and have them trace the word out in the foam with their finger. When they have given it a go, get them to smooth it over and try the next word.

Clap the sounds

Get your child to clap as they say each individual sound in a word. For example, m (clap) – a (clap) – p (clap). Combining actions like this provides another way for your child to remember the sounds.

Try Reading Eggs

This is a great online learning tool that helps children read by engaging them in lots of different activities and makes reading fun. They earn golden eggs throughout their reading journey which gives them access to more games.

Read together

Read to your child while pointing the words out to them as you go. Or, print out two copies of the same text and have them read along while you read aloud. Then get your child to point out different elements, such as words beginning with a certain sound, or words that end in ‘ing’.

Read, write and build

Have three separate sheets of paper and write the word down on one of them. Have your child read it. Then get them to write it on the next sheet of paper. Then, using your trusty fridge magnets or foam letters, get them to build it on the third sheet of paper. Repetition with the same word will help it to stick in their memory.

Have a bedtime story

Reading to your child is important. A bedtime story each night is a great way to reintroduce the fun into reading – and also helps settle your child after a busy day.

Be relaxed about it

Try the techniques above when you have plenty of time to sit with your child without distractions. If you are relaxed, this will encourage your child to relax too. And, don’t stress about their reading skills – every child is different.

The way you interact with your baby can also influence their language skills. Read our article about the benefits of singing to your baby here.


Written by

Kerry White

Kerry is the Senior Writer for Kids on the Coast and Kids in the City. Kerry moved to Australia from England in 2013 with her husband and two daughters. She worked as a sub-editor in London for seven years before she had her girls. She now calls the Sunshine Coast her home and is making the most of its glorious weather and beaches. She enjoys baking, especially when she has a glass of wine in hand, and is a part-time Psychology, Criminology and Justice student. She also shares her home with two cats and her daughters' imaginary dogs.

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