As a parent, teaching your child to read and write is one of the most important things that you will do for them. Through taking the time to do this before they go to school, and continuing to offer support while they are there, you can help your child to have the foundations necessary to learn, share and communicate with others. Teaching a child to read and write is a harder task than many parents expect, not least time consuming. You firstly need to start by teaching them how to pronounce sounds, and from there they have the vital components to pronounce words and then sentences and so on. A child can generally start to learn the alphabet at around 4 years old, and then they can try writing what they can read soon after. Many parents are concerned about trying to introduce their child to reading at too young an age, however this is not something to worry about – the truth is that it can only help.
When you are starting to teach your child how to read, you should not concentrate on pronouncing capital letters first. The reason for this is that learning lower case letters is easier to aid learning how to read. This is because lower case letters represent how one speaks, and through combining lower case letters you start to understand how you can formulate words stemming from them. When your child tries to repeat lower case letters you may find that they are slightly off in how they say them. This is not a concern, and in actual fact does not relate to intellectual capacity. You should also not be overly concerned with grammar either; this is something they will learn over time and should not be prioritized from the outset.
When you are teaching your child how to read and write, you should be careful to limit the vocabulary that you aim to teach. The more vocabulary that you introduce; the more confusion and the more overwhelming the situation will become. According to some lines of academic thinking it is suggested that there are only 400 words a child needs to know in order to be able to communicate effectively.
When your child starts writing much the same applies as with reading. You should not be too concerned with a lack of firmness or preciseness in how they write much of that will come with practice. The key is to teach your child to associate a character with a sound, and therefore to be able to graphically represent the spoken word.
Teaching your child to read and write is something which should go beyond preparing them for going to school. You should continue to do reading and writing with your child out of school as they may wish to clarify points with you that they do not want to ask their teacher. Further more, through making reading a fun and recreational exercise for your child you can ensure that their reading skills and ability to digest information will be much greater than it otherwise would be.