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Reading lessons: Change someone’s life now

Get ready to teach someone to read immediately. While there are many strategies used by educators that work tremendously, these reading lessons are tailored for a mom, dad, sister, brother or friend who wants to help a struggling reader.

You are not required to have teaching experience or some kind of qualification in education. You can give reading lessons once you have a passion for helping someone in need.

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All you need are reading books and stationery, particularly a pen, pencil, eraser, sharpener, notebook and a highlighter. Make sure that you and your student are well fed and rested before you begin these reading lessons.

You can evaluate your student and give reading lessons using these 5 simple steps. If however the student is finding difficulty understanding certain concepts that are usually understood by preschoolers, then there may be need for professional intervention.

Create a time table for reading lessons

Consistency is key to getting any task done properly. A struggling reader may also be an easily distracted student. Pointing at words in a reading book and asking a person with a short attention span to focus for more than five minutes would only frustrate you.

Create a time table from Monday to Friday for one hour a day. Allocate one task to each day to cover the reading lessons successfully.

Feel free to break the hour for five minutes to do something unrelated. This helps to prevent boredom.

However, if the student is okay to continue a particular task, then you may move to suit. Here is a Time Table and detailed videos for you to use while teaching someone to read.

Time Table for Reading Lessons


Student will:

MONDAY: Practise alphabet sounds – one and two sounds

TUESDAY: Observe the use of vowels and consonants in words – long, short, hard and soft

WEDNESDAY: Learn the spelling rules in English

THURSDAY: Listen, observe, and try the art of reading and writing

FRIDAY: Have fun with new words, their synonyms and antonyms


SES Creative x Sophie La Girafe – Baby Colours

STEP 1 – MONDAY: Practise alphabet sounds

Ask your student to sing the alphabet. Listen carefully for when he or she reaches L M N O P. If the struggling reader fumbles with letters in the alphabet, then you know letter sounds would be a problem.

English Alphabet - 26 letters, capital letters, common letters, consonants, vowels for reading lessons

Work on sounding out the letters of the alphabet from A to Z. Typically, persons are familiar with A for apple, B for ball and C for cat but they may get confused as to why A is also for apron and C is for celery.

Explain to your student that some letters have more than one sound and plenty practise will help you to know them all. Use this ABC video to teach alphabet sounds during your reading lessons.

STEP 2 – TUESDAY: Observe the use of vowels and consonants

Identify the vowels and consonants in the alphabet for your student. State that there are the 5 vowels ‘a’, ‘e’, ‘i’, ‘o’ and ‘u’, and there is ‘y’ that sounds like both a vowel and a consonant in certain words. All 6 vowels have long and short sounds.

Vowels, short, long, silent, exceptions for reading lessons

Long vowels sound like the letter – ‘a’ as in ape, ‘e’ as in eat, ‘i’ as in ice-cream, ‘o’ as in oat, ‘u’ as in use and ‘y’ as in rhyme and fly.

Short vowels sound differently from the letter – ‘a’ as in apple, ‘e’ as in egg, ‘i’ as in ink, ‘o’ as in orange, ‘u’ as in up and ‘y’ as in rhythm and myth.

Let your student know that ‘y’ sounds like both long ‘i’ as in psyche and short ‘i’ as in physical.

By breaking down these sounds, you help the struggling reader to iron out any issues that may be causing difficulty in reading.

Consonants are the letters other than vowels. The letters ‘b’, ‘c’, ‘d’, ‘f’, ‘g’, ‘h’, ‘j’, ‘k’, ‘l’, ‘m’, ‘n’, ‘p’, ‘q’, ‘r’, ‘s’, ‘t’, ‘v’, ‘w’, ‘x’, ‘y’ and ‘z’ are consonants.

Two of these letters ‘c’ and ‘g’ have hard sounds as in ‘cat’ and ‘got’ and soft sounds as in ‘cell’ and ‘giant’.

Consonants - sh sounds, chef, passion, sugar, ocean, official, precious

Some letters have multiple sounds when blended as in ‘ph’ sounding like ‘f’ in phone and ‘ch’ sounding like ‘sh’ in chef.

There are also many silent letters in words such as the ‘b’ in lamb, ‘h’ in ghost, ‘l’ in walk, and ‘p’ in receipt.

This consonants video covers many examples to help with your reading lessons.

STEP 3 – WEDNESDAY: Learn the spelling rules in English

Prepare your student for a load of rules that can frustrate any learner if done the wrong way. Explain that there are spelling rules for words with ‘ch’, ‘tch’, ‘ck’, ‘k’, ‘oi’, ‘oy’, ‘ou’, ‘ow’, ‘ie’, ‘ei’, affixes and homophones.

To help you to break down these rules, you may use these articles on spelling rules, affixes and homophones.

Spelling rules - i before e except after c, exceptions, c sounds like sh, ei sounds like long a, ei sounds like short e for reading lessons

This exercise must be creative to avoid losing your student’s interest. Before the session, make a list of words from the articles that fall under at least four rules each week. Here is an example:

Rules and words

1. ‘ch’ and ‘tch’ – beach, much, fetch and catch

2. ‘ck’ and ‘k’ – duck, back, hawk and walk

3. Affixes ‘s’, ‘es’ and ‘ies’ – boys, glasses and babies

4. Homophones – two and too; poor, pour, pore and paw; and there, their and they’re.

Affixes - suffixes, drop the consonant, drop the e, change y to i, add s, es, ies, change is ending to es, change us ending to i, change on ending and um ending to a, change ix and ex endings to ces for reading lessons

Teach the rules during the session. Then, on paper or a whiteboard, head up four columns with the rules as headings.

Call out your list of words in random order for your student to identify orally which word matches which rule.

Applaud correct answers and allow several chances for wrong ones.

Encourage students to keep trying.

Homophones hole, whole, their, there, they're for reading lessons
ABCmouse: Educational Games, Books, Puzzles & Songs for Kids & Toddlers

STEP 4 – THURSDAY: Listen, observe, and try the art of reading and writing

Bring out all the reading books and stationery on a Thursday. Pick a very short story that is no more than a two-minute read.

Read it slowly to your student while pointing at each word but at the same time pause at commas, drop your voice at full stops, make your voice go up high when you read questions and raise your voice to express exclamations.

Let the student realise that punctuation plays an important role in reading and help him or her to enjoy the story.

At the end, discuss the story with your student to make sure the plot was understood.

The next step is for you to write a few lines from the story in a notebook using a pen and letting the student copy your writing in pencil. This may seem tedious for you at first but it becomes satisfactory later when you see the positive results. A struggling learner responds far better to a lesson when the tutor is actually involved in the lesson and not just giving instructions on the sideline.

After the end of every line that you write in the notebook, skip a line even in an incomplete sentence. Say each word aloud as you write enough to cover half of the page.

Let your student use a pencil to copy the words that you wrote in the space under each line. The words must be read aloud as they are being written.

This exercise gives the opportunity for the same words to be seen, heard, written, spoken and repeated every Thursday.

STEP 5 – FRIDAY: Have fun with new words, synonyms and antonyms

Help your student to build a vocabulary. Start with common words used every day. Let your student see the words and get familiar with their spellings.

Introduce words for each that are similar in meaning and words that are opposite in meaning. This video on synonyms and antonyms displays 30 words, 10 synonyms and 10 antonyms for each.

After each set, viewers are given a test with a timer to recite the words that were just read and heard. This video can be used for students, parents, friends and anyone who needs to widen their vocabulary.

It is the best way to end a productive week.

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