How It Works
teach your child to read
In our technology-focused world, parents are increasingly faced with decisions about what tools to use to educate and entertain their children at home. The flood of new apps and interactive websites are a welcome solution for many. Still, most parents acknowledge that there is no substitute for quality time spent side by side, reading and talking about books (even if they are e-books!) with a child.
For parents, grandparents, caregivers, and homeschoolers who want to take an active role in teaching a child to read, American Reading at Home is a proven, research-based solution that can be instantly tailored to your schedule and the individual needs of your child. There are no workbooks, no lesson plans, and no interactive games. Instead, you’ll need just 10 minutes a day to listen to your child read from “Books That Fit” while working on one skill at a time.
"Books That Fit"
Build your child’s confidence by using books at the appropriate level of challenge.
10 Minutes a Day
Daily practice with your child establishes high-success reading habits that will last a lifetime.
One Skill at a Time
Accelerate your child’s reading readiness skills with best practices that cultivate a love of learning.
STEP 1: Use "Books That Fit"
Each of us, whether toddler, teenager, adult, or senior citizen, gravitates to the things we do well and enjoy, and we shy away from things that are too difficult or make us uncomfortable. This is precisely why it’s so important to use “Books That Fit” for beginning readers.
Now imagine having to shop for a new pair of shoes in a store where none of the shoeboxes are labeled with size information. Unfortunately, this very problem exists for children (and their parents) since books are not universally “sized” by level of difficulty. Compounding this problem is that there are very few books on the market that support children during the earliest stages of reading development. Even books that are labeled “for beginning readers” are often too hard for the true emerging reader who can’t yet read any words.
American Reading at Home offers more than 200 books that work like the training wheels on a bicycle. A child will gain confidence using books at the “just right” level of challenge; as she develops new skills, the “training wheels” are gradually removed. Because so much of the reading support is provided by the actual books, children can do much of the learning on their own. This provides the child with tremendous confidence and a sense of ownership of their own learning. It also makes learning to read fun and enjoyable.
STEP 2: Spend 10 Minutes a Day
Our program asks parents to spend just 10 minutes a day listening to their child read from “Books That Fit.” Over time, your child will amass high-success reading practice that builds confidence and key developmental skills. When you incorporate reading time into your daily routine, learning to read isn’t work—it becomes a natural part of your family’s active reading lifestyle.
When “reading time” takes place depends on what works best for your family’s schedule. Some parents like to set a specific time each day; some prefer to combine it with the bedtime story (“You read me a book, then I’ll read you a book”), and others just squeeze it in whenever they can. Always ask your child to select the book(s) he wants to read. Choice is important to young readers because it instills a sense of ownership and pride in making decisions about learning to read.
With just 10 minutes a day, your child will progress steadily and naturally to become an independent reader. As the parent, your active role will bring you perfectly in tune to the individual needs of your child. Together, you are creating a nurturing environment to support your child in becoming a successful avid reader—for life.
STEP 3: One Skill at a Time
With American Reading at Home, children learn to master just one new skill at a time—we call each skill a “Power Goal”—which accelerates learning. At each reading level, there are 1-3 Power Goals that your child will master while reading books designed to help them with these specific skills. On our website (at no additional cost!), we provide a comprehensive description of each reading level along with detailed coaching tips, what to expect of your young reader, what mistakes to correct, when to move to the next level, and what to do if your child is struggling. We also provide videos that show what successful reading practice looks like and demonstrate how to coach a child when they get stuck. Our Skills Cards and Coaching Records provide quick reference guides to use offline.
For the ambitious parent who wants to rapidly accelerate their child’s learning (you know who you are!), sometimes it’s important to resist the natural urge to correct your child. There are actually some mistakes that children make that are quite natural and should not be corrected while they are working on the immediate Power Goal at hand. Our coaching tips will guide you in knowing just what to say and do as your child navigates the unknown in learning to read.
Watch your reader grow
It will be one of your proudest moments as a parent when your child first begins to read. If you choose to take an active role in helping your child achieve this big milestone, you should take great pride in your own parenting skills as well. With American Reading at Home, children grow into curious, inspired, and confident readers who are eager to learn more. The program establishes the foundation for success in school and a genuine love of reading that will last a lifetime.