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Most parents don’t think about teaching reading until their child is pre-school age. They don’t realize that by starting at birth they make the reading process easier and more natural for their child.

Language teaching starts within minutes of birth. The newborn hears its first words and tries to understand what is being said. There are many ways parents can make reading easier for their child from birth.

1. Read to your child every day, from birth. You hear this advice a lot, but it really does make a difference. Think of it this way: if you never spoke to your child, how comfortable would your child be with communicating through speech? Reading is the same. The more you read to your child and the earlier you start, the more natural reading will seem to your child.

2. Let your child see you reading. Take time out of your day to sit down with a book. Children emulate their parents. If you read, your child will want to read.

3. Share your reading with your child. Tell your child, “I just read a really great book about _____. I can’t wait until you’re old enough to read it too.”

4. Read the books your child wants to read. Don’t make your child listen to age-level books if he/she doesn't want to. If your 3-year-old wants you to read books aimed at 1st graders, read them. Your child’s comprehension will improve, and your child will stay interested.

5. Teach your child to write and recognize his/her name early. The written word takes on meaning to a child as young as 1 1/2 years when he/she understands that a specific group of letters means “ME!”

6. Teach the alphabet early. It's possible for your child to know the alphabet by age 2.

7. Teach the written alphabet at the same time you teach the “ABC song.” This reinforces the idea that the symbols have meaning. Each word said is the same as this symbol.

8. As soon as your child understands that each symbol means something, start teaching phonics. Start with the easy consonants. Teach your child to sound out his/her name and the names of family members, pets, toys, etc.

9. Have your child read to you daily, even if your child can only sound out two-letter words. You read the story and when you come to a word your child knows or can sound out, let him/her read that word. Help your child if they get stuck.

10. Don’t push. Every child is different and learns at his/her own pace. Keep reading a fun, loving, and stress-free activity.