The Essentials of Teaching Reading

All parents should know these essentials

Teaching a child to read can be intimidating, especially for a first-time parent. Trust me, I was that parent! But learning more about how children learn to read can help reduce intimidation and increase excitement. Let’s explore some important tips, starting with the five pillars of reading. You MUST know the five pillars of reading!

The Five Pillars of Reading

Click on the icons to learn more about each pillar.

Phonemic Awareness

The ability to hear and manipulate the sounds in spoken words.


The relationship between sounds and letters in written words.


The knowledge and understanding of words and their meanings.


The ability to read text accurately, quickly, and with expression.


The ability to understand and interpret what is read.

Orthographic Mapping

Orthographic mapping is a recent discovery for me. I’d seen it in action and didn’t know what it was called. I refer to my daughter reading words, seemingly without sounding them out, when I know she had never seen the words before. She was sounding them out but using her orthographic mapping skills to great effect.

Now that I’ve learned not only its name, but how amazing it is, I want to share it with you. It is THE most essential part of learning to read and if you work hard, especially on the first three pillars of reading, your child will greatly improve their orthographic mapping skill and their ability to read.

So what is orthographic mapping?

Orthographic mapping is like creating a map in our brains that connects the letters we see to the sounds they make in words. It’s super important for kids learning to read because it helps them recognize words quickly and remember them better. When kids can map out words in their minds, reading becomes easier and more fun! The more they read, the faster they get at mapping!

Studies have found that strong orthographic mapping skills are linked to better reading comprehension and fluency. So, helping kids develop this skill early on can set them up for success in reading and learning overall.

Ways to Improve Orthographic Mapping

It is Essential to Read to Your Child

I get it, even after learning all this information, teaching your child to read can still be intimidating.

If this is true for you, know this: reading together is your superpower. If you are dedicated to reading with them, you will lay the groundwork for success. Whether you choose to teach your child to read or let them learn to read at school, the groundwork you lay through reading to them will be instrumental.

Here are six reasons why reading to your child is so essential:

Language Development: It exposes children to a rich variety of words and language structures, helping to expand their vocabulary and improve their language skills.

Cognitive Development: Reading stimulates children’s imaginations, creativity, and critical thinking skills. It encourages them to make connections, ask questions, and think about the world around them.

Bonding and Emotional Development: Reading together creates a special bond between parents and children. It provides opportunities for cuddling, conversation, and shared enjoyment, fostering a positive emotional connection.

Preparation for School: Reading to children from a young age helps prepare them for academic success. It introduces them to the concept of books, print, and stories, laying the foundation for literacy skills that are crucial for school readiness.

Cultural Awareness: Books expose children to diverse cultures, perspectives, and experiences, helping them develop empathy, understanding, and appreciation for the world’s diversity.

Love of Reading: Reading aloud instills a love of books and reading in children, setting them on a lifelong journey of learning, exploration, and enjoyment through reading.

Once Reading, Children Need to Read

Research shows that continued reading is essential for children to improve their reading skills. By regularly engaging with books and texts, children strengthen their vocabulary, comprehension, and fluency. Encouraging ongoing reading not only reinforces their existing skills but also fosters a lifelong love of learning and exploration through reading.

Even just 20 minutes of daily reading can make a world of difference for your child’s development. Compared to reading for just a few minutes or not reading at all, this short but consistent practice builds crucial literacy skills, expands vocabulary, enhances comprehension, and fosters a love for reading. It’s a small investment of time with invaluable returns that can positively impact your child’s academic success and lifelong learning journey.


Review the infographic below to see how 20 minutes a day plays out over time (and imagine what even more time could mean).

So What Is Next?

As mentioned earlier on this page, with this knowledge you can choose to teach your child to read and enjoy all the benefits of that process or you can allow the school to teach your child to read. Both can be very effective!

If you choose to teach your child to read, here is how Phonogram University can help:

This free course introduces you to the phonograms and starts your child on their reading journey. These seven lessons cover the alphabet phonograms. After completing these lessons you will know the power of the phonograms and you will be motivated to continue!

The Udemy course includes all 70 phonograms. The course includes 18 phonograms lessons and assorted other lessons that allow you to teach your child to read very effectively.  It is continually being updated to improve the process of teaching your child to read.

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