Here is something not many would guess about me: I struggled to read as a child. Not only was I one of the youngest kids in my grade, but I attended four different schools between kindergarten and first grade. So I got off to a slow start in some areas, reading in particular.

Eventually I did get the hang of it and enjoyed many books throughout the rest of my childhood, but as a parent I’ve been somewhat obsessed with making sure my kids don’t go through the same experience. I wanted them to not only learn to read, but to love it. So far we’re doing great. My 8-year-old daughter is a voracious reader, sinking her teeth into Ramona Quimby and Harry Potter, and my five-year-old son is on his way. Here are a few books, websites, and apps that have been very helpful with teaching my kids to read.

I used this book pretty exclusively to teach my daughter to read and we loved it! So simple, gradual, logical, and fun, my daughter never got frustrated with the process. By the end of the book, your child will be on a second-grade reading level.

As much as I love the above book, I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that it might not be quite the right method for my son. We’ve been struggling through the lessons and inevitably one or both of us loses our patience at some point. But recently we came upon and I have to say it is FANTASTIC! They use a very similar method as “Teach your child…” very logical and gradual, but the games make it so fun and interactive for kids so my son is actually begging me to spend time on this site. Their activities also do a lot of repetition so it really helps my son who struggles with retention. They also have a lot of reading and spelling games for older kids to increase their literacy skills, so my daughter is hopping on as well. They charge a monthly fee, but you can do a free 30 day trial to see if it’s something that will benefit your child. I think it’s totally worth it. has been a great help in building basic literacy skills, increasing word recognition, and reinforcing lessons already learned. The Super Why games are my kids favorites.
Peapod Labs makes awesome education iPad apps that my kids love. Really helps with letter and sound recognition. They also several activities for basic math skills. Love it!
This is a handwriting game that helps kids form letters in a kind of connect-the-dots exercise and then also forms the letters into words, so they see and hear the connection between the sounds and the formation of a word. My little boys love this one!
All of these tools have been helpful in teaching my kids to read, but at the end of the day I believe the best thing I’ve can do for my kids in the literacy department (and also the love department) is simply to read to them. And don’t stop when they become independent readers. Keep reading to them for as long as they will let you. You won’t regret it!


    • Eva

    • February 7, 2012

    • 6:10 pm

    Thanks for the recommendations! We are in the middle of a long literacy battle with the eldest. Some of these methods I’ve tried, some I haven’t. Lately we’ve resorted to any Stage 1 reading books from the library, it motivates her when she has to actually read to find out what happens in the book!

    • natals

    • February 7, 2012

    • 7:00 pm

    We were just discussing how to help #2 learn to read. I’ll have to give the book and website a try. Thanks Liesl!

  1. Hey, thanks for the links. The first book looks especially appealing to me. I can’t believe they can read at the second grade level by the end! Woot!

    • Robin

    • February 7, 2012

    • 9:09 pm

    We use Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. I really like it, and understand about sometimes getting frustrated with it, esp. the longer lessons in the back.

    Excited to try

  2. The way you felt about reading is how I felt about math. Now I just need to find some books on how to make my kids not be afraid of math…

  3. Thanks for the recommends. I’ll check back in ten years or so.

    Also, your blog is asking me to prove I’m not a robot by typing in word verification. So. Much. Effort. I swear I’m not a robot.

    • Elise

    • March 15, 2012

    • 1:46 am

    Thanks for posting these! I am always looking for ways to improve my teaching. I haven’t tried the book you listed so I’m excited to check it out. My current favorite tool is “The Ordinary Parent’s Guide To Teaching Reading.” It moves really really slowly which is perfect when you start with a 3-yr-old. I tried McGuffy’s Primer and it just moves waaaaay too fast after the first five lessons. Maybe it would work for a 6-yr-old.

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