How to Teach a Toddler How to Read

By | 16/04/2016

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How to teach a toddler how to read? Learning to read at a young age is important for the child development of toddlers. It helps them develop a better understand of their surroundings, allows them to gather information from printed materials, and provides them with a wonderful source of entertainment when they read stories and rhymes. Children develop at different rates, and some children will develop reading skills quicker than other children; however, what’s important is that as the parent, you are keenly aware of your child’s maturity and reading level to provide them with appropriate books and activities to help them improve.

As a mom, you are the most important teacher for your children. You will introduce your kids to books and reading. Below we have some tips to help you teach a toddler how to read.

Teach a Toddler How to Read Tip #1

Teach your child alphabet letters and sounds at the same time. Studies have shown that children learn best when they are taught the letter names and letter sounds at the same time. In one study, 58 preschool children were randomly assigned to receive instructions in letter names and sounds, letter sound only, or numbers (control group). The results of this study are consistent with past research results in that it found children receiving letter name and sound instruction were most likely to learn the sounds of letters whose names included cues to their sounds. [1]

When teaching your child the letter sounds, have them slowly trace the letter, while saying the sound of the letter at the same time. For example, if you were teaching your child the letter “A”, you would say:

“The letter A makes the /A/ (ah) sound.”

Then have your child say the /A/ sound while tracing the letter with his or her index finger.

Teach a Toddler How to Read Tip #2

When teaching your toddler to read, always emphasize with them that the proper reading order should be from left to right, and top to bottom. To adults, this may seem so basic that anyone should know it. However, our children are not born with the knowledge that printed text should be read from left to right and top to bottom, and this is why you’ll sometimes see children reading from right to left instead – because they were never explicitly taught to read from left to right. When teaching your toddler how to read, always emphasize this point with them.

Teach a Toddler How to Read Tip #3

Teach final consonant blends first. Teaching words such “at” and “and” can lead your toddler directly to learning words that rhyme with these. For example, for “at”, you can have:


For “and”, you can have these rhyming words:

and so on…

You can start teaching blends once your toddler has learned the sounds of some consonants and short vowel sounds. You don’t need to wait until your child has mastered the sounds of all the letters before teaching blends.

Learning to read is a long process, but it doesn’t have to be a difficult process. Broken down into intuitive and logical steps, a toddler as young as two years old can learn to read, and older children can accomplish even more.

Click here to for a simple, step-by-step program that can help your child learn to read, and watch a video of a 2 year old child reading




1. J Exp Child Psychol. 2010 Apr;105(4):324-44. Epub 2010 Jan 25.
Learning letter names and sounds: effects of instruction, letter type, and phonological processing skill. Piasta SB, Wagner RK.
Preschool Language and Literacy Lab, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, USA.

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4 thoughts on “How to Teach a Toddler How to Read

  1. Green

    I love your work and your enthusiasm about being a mom and sharing that with other parents. It is refreshing to see happiness and joy in parenting. I am a student as well and the information that you provide can assist parents in not only helping their child read but engage them in fun activities. Congratulations on your personal successes as well as your son’s successes.

    1. Jenna Post author

      Thank you Green for approving what I have been doing so far and the kind wishes as well. It is an effective way to teach a toddler how to read and I must say that I learned the phonetic while teaching my son. It certainly strengthen our relationship. It is the same case in your academic learning, invent the strategy that fits you the best! I wish you success in pursuing your goal.

  2. Daniella

    Hi Jenna,

    This a very interesting article, I was absorbed by the reading! When my children were toddlers, I used to read them stories from books and was showing them the letters and the pictures. Also, I was playing songs with simple words, which made them learn new words while enjoying singing.
    The technique that you have mentioned in your article seems to be really good and helpful. My sister has an adorable toddler boy, this would be a wonderful present for his birthday:)
    Thank you very much for this excellent blog!

    1. Jenna Post author


      Thank you for enjoying the article. For what you have done with your kids, you are a great mom, I am sure your children have developed the love for reading. Yes, it is a proven method developed by Jim Yang, a father and a reading teacher and it works for many children including the toddlers. I tried that blending method with my son on the first day and guess what, he quickly learned how to read a word on that day itself. As for me, that is truly amazing! Wow, it is so sweet of you to think of giving your nephew this for his birthday. This is the link to get that for your convenience –> Children Learning Reading


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