3 ways to teach reading

Table of contents:

3 ways to teach reading
3 ways to teach reading

Teaching someone to read is an extremely satisfying experience. Whether you're teaching your child to read their first book or helping a friend improve their reading skills, the steps and directions below will be a helpful teaching guide.


Method 1 of 3: Teach the Essentials

Teach Reading Step 1
Teach Reading Step 1

Step 1. Teach him the alphabet

The first step in learning to read will be to recognize the letters of the alphabet. Use a poster, chalkboard, or notebook to write or display the alphabet. Go over the letters with the student until they learn all of them. You could sing the alphabet song to help him remember.

  • When the student knows the alphabet in order, challenge him by writing several letters in no order and ask him to remember them.
  • You could also name the letters and ask the student to point to them.
  • When teaching a child, first teach him the letters of his name. In this way, the teaching of letters will be more personal and important, because it is something important for the child, his own name, the child will be the "owner" of his learning, which will excite him a lot.
Teach Reading Step 2
Teach Reading Step 2

Step 2. Teach him the sounds

When the student is familiar with the alphabet, you will have to teach him the sound of each letter. Learning the name of each letter will not be enough, as a letter could be pronounced differently depending on the word. For example, the sound of the x in the word "taxi" is different from the sound of the x in the word "Mexico". When the student has mastered the sounds of each of the letters, they can just practice combining sounds to form words.

  • Knowledge of the basic sounds of a language and the ability to manipulate them to form different words is known as phonemic awareness.
  • Go over each letter and show him the sounds it makes. Give examples of words that begin with each letter and then ask the student to give examples as well.
  • You could also introduce a word and ask the student what letter it starts with.
  • You will be able to familiarize the student with pairs of common letters that make specific sounds, such as “ch”, “sh” and “ll”.
Teach Reading Step 3
Teach Reading Step 3

Step 3. Teach one-syllable words

He then proceeds to teach him a basic reading. To do this, show her two to three one-syllable words. Beginners tend to do better with consonant-vowel-consonant words, such as PAN or SOL.

  • Begin by asking the student to read simple one-syllable words, such as "col." Ask him to name each letter, then try to read the word. If he makes a mistake, ask him again what sound the letter makes. The student will reflect and remember it, if not you will have to tell them. When he reads the word well, compliment him with enthusiasm.
  • Repeat this process with other simple one-syllable words. When they have seen five words, go back to the first one and see if the student can read it more quickly.
  • Keep introducing him to more words and little by little give him more complex and long words.
Teach Reading Step 4
Teach Reading Step 4

Step 4. Teach her the high frequency words

These words have to be memorized because they diverge from normal spelling rules, such as "happy," "glass," and "today." For this reason, it will be vital that readers can instantly recognize these words when they see them in a text.

  • You will be able to find the most common words of this type listed in many lists, for example, in English, you will have the Dolch Sight Word Series and Fry List.
  • To teach the most frequent words, try to associate each word with an illustration. Presenting the student with illustrations of these words along with the way they are written will help them make important connections between the object and the word.
  • Cards or posters with a colorful picture and the word under it will be excellent tools for teaching these types of words.
  • Repetition will be the key to assimilate the most frequent words. Beginning readers will have to read and write a new frequent word several times. Reading certain texts that contain these words many times will be an excellent strategy for them to memorize them.
Teach Reading Step 5
Teach Reading Step 5

Step 5. Enrich your vocabulary

A student's reading vocabulary is defined as the number of words he knows and understands while reading. Increasing your vocabulary will be an integral part of teaching you to read. The richer your vocabulary, the more advanced you will be able to read and understand texts. You can help him improve in many ways:

  • Encourage him to read as much as possible and to vary the type of text. As he reads, ask him to underline the words he doesn't know, then you can explain them to him or help him look them up in the dictionary.
  • Teach him the definition of words or other attributes of words, such as the meaning of common roots, prefixes, and suffixes.
  • Use association methods to help you make connections between what they know and unfamiliar words. For example, you can match a new word with a known synonym.
Teach Reading Step 6
Teach Reading Step 6

Step 6. Increase your fluency

Fluency is the ability to read quickly and accurately, with proper rhythm, intonation, and expression. Beginning readers do not have this ability. As a result, they often struggle to read texts that are above their reading level. Without fluency, the reader will focus all his energies on correctly pronouncing all the words before his eyes, instead of assimilating their meaning. If this is the case, the reader will not understand the meaning of the text, which will make the ability to read meaningless. This is why increasing fluency will be so important.

  • Some readers without much fluency will hesitate when reading, they will not be able to pronounce or know the punctuation. Others will read without expression or change the tone, read the words quickly without reflecting on their meaning.
  • The best method to increase fluency for beginners is to repeat a certain reading. When a certain reading is repeated, the student will read a passage many times while the teacher provides feedback on speed and accuracy, helps with difficult words, and demonstrates fluent reading.
  • It will also be important to ensure that the student becomes familiar with the different types of pronunciation. Make sure the student knows how punctuation marks such as commas, periods, question marks, and exclamation points will affect reading fluency and intonation.
Teach Reading Step 7
Teach Reading Step 7

Step 7. Test your reading comprehension

Reading comprehension is the process by which meanings are formed from read material. To understand a text, the reader must associate the words he reads with their real meaning. Your main objective as a teacher will be to make your student understand the text as they read it, because without understanding, it will not make sense to read.

  • To measure student progress, you will need to assess their reading comprehension. Normally, you will have to ask him to read and answer a few questions about what he read. You could do it in multiple choice, short answer format and fill in the blanks.
  • You can also assess the student's knowledge of his comprehension strategies by asking him questions while reading, asking him to summarize what he has read, and observing it.

Method 2 of 3: Teach Children

Teach Reading Step 8
Teach Reading Step 8

Step 1. Read to the child

Do it as often as possible. This will teach him that reading is fun and show him how written words sound when he recites them out loud. It will also be a great relationship experience and will encourage you to love books.

  • You can start reading from childhood. With picture books, with texturized fabric books and books of lullabies for babies and toddlers. When he gets a little older, you can show him alphabet and rhyme books.
  • Get your child involved by asking questions about the content of the book and its pictures. Asking him about the book you are going to read together will make the experience more interactive and encourage him to really understand what he sees and reads.
  • In the case of babies, you should try to point to certain images and ask "do you see the tractor?" while pointing at it. This will help increase your vocabulary and allow you to interact with the reading process. As he progresses, point to some animals such as cats or sheep and ask him to play the sounds of those animals, such as "meow" and "me." This will show that the baby understands what he sees, and it will also be very entertaining!
Teach Reading Step 9
Teach Reading Step 9

Step 2. Set a good example

Even if your child may be interested in reading from a very young age, he will lose interest quickly if reading is not shown or encouraged at home. Children learn by example, so grab a book and show your child that reading is something that adults enjoy too.

Even if you're busy, make sure your child watches you read for at least a few minutes a day. To set a good example, you don't necessarily have to read a classic novel. You can read the newspaper, a cookbook, a thriller … it will depend on you

Teach Reading Step 10
Teach Reading Step 10

Step 3. Look at the pictures

Looking at pictures in books will be great for increasing your vocabulary and helping you understand the plot of a story. Before reading a new book, first browse through it, comment on the pictures. Show him how to pick up context clues to help him read.

  • Try to ask questions that you can answer by looking at the pictures. For example, if there is a color word, ask him to guess the word from the picture.
  • Praise him for the correct answers and ask more questions to cheer him up if he gets frustrated.
Teach Reading Step 11
Teach Reading Step 11

Step 4. Be varied

When choosing materials to help your child read, use a combination of phonic books that they can read on their own over time, slightly more advanced stories that they will read together, and fun materials of their choice, such as comics and magazines.

  • Using a variety of materials and activities will make learning to read an enjoyable activity, not a chore.
  • Do you have a favorite book from your childhood that you want to share with your child? If you've read a book over and over again, that passion could be contagious.
Teach Reading Step 12
Teach Reading Step 12

Step 5. Be creative

A little creativity will go a long way in teaching your child to read. If you stimulate him with the learning process, you will see that it will be easier to maintain his attention and he will learn much more quickly thanks to it. Think of alternative ways to make learning to read fun.

  • Put on a show. To make reading stories fun and help improve reading comprehension, you can do a short performance. Tell your child that after reading the book together, you will decide which characters will have to act. You will be able to write a script together, create props, and dress up or wear masks.
  • Try making letters with clay, writing them in the sand on the beach or drawing them on the rug with string.

Method 3 of 3: Teach Adults

Teach Reading Step 13
Teach Reading Step 13

Step 1. You will have to understand that teaching an adult to read is a difficult task

Adults are not as quick to learn new skills as children and it may be difficult for them to remember letter sounds and words which would be very easy for a child. However, teaching an adult to read will also be an extremely satisfying experience. You will only need time and a lot of patience.

  • Unlike children, adults cannot spend several hours in a classroom every day. If they have to fulfill their work and family duties, you will have a couple of hours a week at most to improve their reading skills, which could significantly prolong the learning process.
  • Adults who cannot read may also have a lifetime of negative experiences and emotions that they associate with their inability to read, which may be difficult to overcome.
Teach Reading Step 14
Teach Reading Step 14

Step 2. Assess your ability

To know where to start, you will need to assess their level of reading ability. You could use a professional evaluation or just ask him to do whatever reading or writing he already knows. For your part, you will have to observe the points that you see that have problems.

  • Keep monitoring their level throughout the learning process.
  • If you find that you constantly struggle with a certain skill or concept, take it as a guide to help you work on that area.
Teach Reading Step 15
Teach Reading Step 15

Step 3. Make him feel safe

The greatest challenge for an adult who cannot read is overcoming the insecurity of his disability. Many adults lack self-confidence for fear that it is too late for them to learn to read. Show him confidence in his ability to learn and assure him that it is never too late to start.

  • Give him the peace of mind that his familiarity with spoken Spanish and his vocabulary will play a very important role in learning to read.
  • Many adults spend many years hiding their inability to read from teachers, family, and colleagues. Let them know that they no longer need to be embarrassed and that you respect their courage for turning to you to learn.
Teach Reading Step 16
Teach Reading Step 16

Step 4. Use the appropriate materials

When teaching adults, look for materials that are not very childish or at least ask them if they have no problem using that type of material. Remember, though, that children's books might be easy materials, using simple words and rhymes to reinforce the connection between letter patterns and sounds.

  • Also remember that if you use materials that are very difficult or well above their level, adult readers can easily become discouraged.
  • Use materials of a high level, but manageable, so the capacity and confidence of an adult reader will grow.
Teach Reading Step 17
Teach Reading Step 17

Step 5. Make sure it's relevant

Try to use materials that are interesting and relevant to the student. By using materials like this, the learning process will be less work and you will encourage the adult student, because you will be showing him the practical applications of learning to read.

  • When you go to practice reading, try to use traffic signs, newspaper articles, or restaurant menus.
  • Use technology. Send the student each new word they will have to learn via text message. Doing so will make learning fun and important to everyday life.

Video. By using this service, some information could be shared with YouTube


  • The student should feel motivated and you should congratulate him for all his efforts.
  • Anyone can learn to read, regardless of age or level achieved in school. The personalized help, the desire to learn and the patience of the teacher will pay off in the long run.
  • Short and frequent lessons will be more valuable and will also cause less fatigue for the teacher and the student. Daily lessons and familiarity with the process will yield better results.
  • You must go stage by stage.
  • It is vital that the topic is interesting. Make sure the ideas or concepts in the reading material are familiar to the reader. Talk about the text before you read it.


  • A specific method will not always have good results, many times the combination of methods will be more successful.
  • If the student is having trouble distinguishing words or letters, have his vision checked. If you suspect another learning disability, you will need to seek professional help to identify it and how to work with it.
  • Different “learn to read” programs are based on different methods. You will be able to search for a phonics-based program to use in conjunction with the student's materials of interest.

Popular by topic