Ten Must Haves for Learning to Read

Teaching Emily to read was like riding a roller coaster. It was a huge uphill climb until we almost reached the top and then out of nowhere she flew over the edge and has been off ever since. I say that to encourage you. I know if you are in the trenches it seems futile. It seems like your child will just never get it.

Most days you want to bang your head into a wall because for the 27th time they sound out B-A-T and say banana, I am going to share with you my “10 Must Haves for Learning to Read”. With that being said please know that every child is different and some just are not ready.

Teaching your child to read to read is not an easy task. These were our top 10 favorite resourcses that we used to teach reading to our duaghter.

Ten Must Haves for Learning to Read

1. Reading Aloud

I know it can be tempting to want to spend all of your time pushing your little one to be the one reading. But reading aloud has so many benefits and it also a great way to help your child over the hurdle, It will also help them want to read if they can see it is fun.

2. Model Reading Yourself

I know what you are thinking… Jessica this is not a resources either, you have lost your mind. Just hear me out though. You want your child to learn to read because you know they will need it for the rest of their life. But, they are a child so they don’t know that or even understand that. You need to give your child a reason to want to read, which also go hand in hand with #1 on the list. By modeling reading you are showing them it is something that can be fun. Think of it as giving them the motivation to want to read.

3. Curriculum

This is what you were waiting for, wasn’t it? All homeschool moms want that magic curriculum that is going to make it easier on us, right? We used Hooked on Phonics. We didn’t use it because it was my favorite or because it came highly recommended but because it offered monthly payments and at the time that is what we could financially handle. Do I think it was good? Yes, it did the job. Would I use it again? Probably not. But, not because I didn’t like it. But, because I know now what I didn’t know then and that is I didn’t need a curriculum. If I was to use a curriculum I would probably use All About Reading because they offer a solid hands on approach.

4. Beginning Readers

If you are learning to read you need something to read right? Our favorite readers were the Bob Books and the My First Reading Library from Usborne. Although they did not exist when I was teaching Emily to read I would probably pick up the Dash into Learning books too. All of these provide the child the ability to read a book after only learning 4 letter sounds. That will help build confidence right off the bat.



5. DVDs

I know screen time can be somewhat of a debate but in our house we embrace it and use it to our advantage. Some of our favorite DVDs were the Leap Frog Learning Collection, Preschool Prep Meet the Phonics, Preschool Prep Meet the Sight Words, and Rock ‘N Learn Let’s Learn to Read.



6. Manipulatives

Being able to move the letters around, manipulate them, see them and feel them helped Emily so much. I had way too many manipulatives but the ones we used the most were the wooden reading blocks, magnetic letters that we used with cookie sheets from the Dollar Tree and My First Bananagrams.



7. Games

We of course had tons of learning to read games. But I am trying to keep it to the must haves. The most played phonic game we had was Happy Hats and the most played sight word game we had was Pop for Sight Words. If you want to see an extensive list click here.



8. Fun Printable Activities

Printables are a great way to have a variety of activities for your child. There are a ton available nowadays. My top three places to find fun quality printable activities for learning to read are This Reading Mama, Moffatt Girls, and Let’s Play School.

Top Resources for Learning to Read

9. Apps

We did not use a ton of app time at this point in our lives because Emily did not have her own tablet yet. She did often play on one of our phones though if we needed to distract her or we had a long wait. Our favorite apps were Hooked on Phonics, Teach Your Monster to Read, Endless Reader, Starfall, and Reading Eggs.



10. Patience

I really should have listed this first. The number one thing you need is patience. Your child will learn to read in their own time. If you start feeling stressed back off and just do the fun stuff. Remember if you are stressed, they are probably stressed. And at the end of the day does it matter if your child can read but they don’t read because through the process of learning to read they also learned to hate reading?


  1. Thank you for this! We’re in the learning to read trenches over here, and you’ve given me some fun, new ideas!

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