Common Reading Mistakes and How to Fix Them

Reading is a challenge for many young children. There are a number of common errors that are made when learning to read, but there are ways to correct them before they become ingrained in your childís reading. Here are some of the more common reading mistakes, and how you can fix them as soon as they appear.

Tracking Errors

Tracking errors are when a child mixes up sounds within a word. It indicates that they are not tracking left to right, which is the proper way to read. They might sound out a letter near the end of the word before one nearer to the beginning. To help your child in this situation, sound out the word from left to right, and move your finger in the proper direction to help them remember this.

Word Guessing

Often when a child learns to read, they may guess a word without viewing it in its entirety. If a child makes the correct sound of the first letter, but the rest of the word is wrong, they may be doing this. Watch your childís eyes closely, as children who are word guessing often look away from the page and list a string of possible words while watching you to see how you react. Again, sound out the word for your child while pointing at the letters and letter combinations.

Trouble with Vowel Combinations

Children may struggle with combining vowels. You will realize this if their vowel combinations sound choppy or do not flow properly. If your child is having difficulty putting two vowels together, practice sounding out the vowel combinations, or make up a catchy rhyme or poem to help them remember what the combination sounds like.

Lack of Attention to Detail

When a child is in a hurry to read or has trouble concentrating, they may lack attention to detail. If your child misses parts of a word they are attempting to read or skips words, this may be the issue. They may have trouble blending consonant clusters. Encourage your child to slow down and take their time in order to conquer this problem.

Confusing the Letters

It is a common issue for children to confuse letters when they are beginning to read. Letters such as b, d, and even p which are similar in shape can cause confusion among early readers. If your child is obviously mixing up their letters, have them print each letter numerous times in regular block style print.

Text Memorization

Sometimes children learn tricks that make them appear to be reading better than they actually are. This can be deceiving to those who are instructing them, as the child appears not to have any struggles. If you notice your child reciting a portion of reading to you and they are not even looking at the book, they have likely memorized it. The way to combat this is to have your child read new books often and to avoid books with pictures that give away what is written once they have read it through.

There are many common mistakes a child may make while learning to read. If you catch them early, you can correct them so that they will not become a long-term stumbling block to your child. Your young reader will benefit from your attention as you keep your eyes out for these common reading mistakes and assist your child in conquering them.

How Do Our Routines Impact Children’s Reading?

No one would argue that reading is one of the most important things we can teach our children. When a child learns to read, it opens up a whole new world to them. When a person can read, they will be able to do more, learn more, and become more than they otherwise would. Our routines can impact our childrenís reading, and here are some ideas on how your routines can encourage your child to become an avid and effortless reader.

Routines Make Time for Reading

In a busy world where we often feel like we are flying from one activity to the next, routines give us a solid schedule where we can make time for what is important to us and our families. Maintaining routines ensures that there will always be time for our children to read. Having a certain time set aside daily to read is one of the best things we can schedule and make time for.

Routines Allow Us to Be Involved in the Process

Routines also allow us to be able to commit to helping a child read. It is frustrating for a child who has a desire to learn something when their parent has too many other things on the go to assist them when needed. Putting reading into oneís schedule allows us to be available and to plan ahead so that we can be there when necessary.

Routines Allow Our Children to Look Forward to Reading

Children thrive on routines, and they crave predictability in their schedules. When your child knows what to expect at each given moment, they will anticipate what comes next. Although it seems counter-intuitive, our children will be more likely to look forward to reading when they know it is going to happen at a certain time, and on a daily basis.

Routines Give Children the Structure to Think Creatively

When a child doesnít have to wonder what is going to happen at the next moment, all day long, they can channel their creativity into more worthwhile things. Routines free up a child and their imagination and give your child room to expand their creative pursuits. Children who think creatively are more likely to enjoy reading because their imagination fills in the blanks as they read, and brings the text to life.

Routines Free Your Childís Mind to Learn

Daily routines help everyone function at their best, from the youngest to the oldest of the family. Routines help us feel stable and let us get into a rhythm. We function at our best when our bodies have a predictable pattern and know what to expect next. Your child will feel less scattered and be able to focus and concentrate on reading when they feel safe and secure. This is what routines do for us.

Routines are beneficial to families in every way. They give time to parents, creative energy to children, and the opportunity to make it all happen. Embrace routines in your life and see what a difference it can make in your childís ability and love for reading.

What a Child Can Learn Through Reading

Through books, a child is taken from the confines of their reading area and into the world of a writer’s imagination. They can walk through a land far away, fly through a cloudy sky, or experience life that is different from their own. I have often written that we read as an escape from our ordinary lives. But for a moment I want to revisit one of readings fundamental aspects; reading is a teaching tool. And for children’s reading, the teaching is often under the surface or in the background. Without a child realizing it, they are learning.

How to Do Things

Reading can be a great way for our children to learn things. Or at the least, it can give them a springboard to ask questions about learning to do things. Through a character they read about, a child is introduced to the experiences and abilities in which they may have an interest. The day to day lives of a storybook character can cause a young reader to want to live that life. So, they try to act out what they read. Through this process, they learn valuable lessons about what they can do, and what they cannot do; at least yet. Books like Harold and the Purple Crayon give a child eager anticipation to draw. Unfortunately, your hallway may need to be wiped down a few times before they learn drawing goes on paper. This eagerness to experiment can lead to bigger things like in All By Myself. The main character of this story is learning about growing up. It’s about his adventure of trying to brush his hair and pour a glass of juice on his own. Growing up is going to happen, and reading is a great avenue for children to explore and ask questions about life in general. When they see characters doing things that they haven’t learned yet, it gives them a desire to attempt to do those things. And the opportunity for us to guide them in doing them properly.

How to Interact with Others

This attitude of curiosity is not only applicable to trying new things; it can attribute to a child’s behavior. If a character in a story is using good manners, then those behaviors can be picked up by a young reader. You as a parent can also use that character’s actions to bring about a change of behavior in a child, especially when the child admires the character. For instance, Olivia is very respectful in how she communicates with adults. She is also friendly with others and likes to share. These examples can be pointed out to your child to emulate, which will help them as they get older and move into the schooling years and have to deal with other people. Interaction with others is one of the most significant issues when it comes to making the transition from being at home all day and starting school. Stories about sharing and helping others can help that awkward transition a bit easier. There are many children’s books out there that tackle the first day of school and all the emotions that surround it; the anxiety of meeting new people, fear of not being liked, the sadness of being away from a parent, and the nervousness of having to learn. Reading a good book can prepare a child for human interaction outside of the family circle they have grown accustomed to.

How to View the World

It is all about perspective. Books give a glimpse into a character’s life. We are introduced to someone and given their characteristics. Those details can tell us about how they view the world around them. Books will often take a character through a series of events that will cause a change in the character that will affect their worldview. Often it is from a negative outlook of life to a positive view through a certain event that occurs. An unhappy character finds joy. A mean character finds the ability to be nice. Bullying is a terrible thing for a child to face. Especially at a young age. But it is inevitable, at some point your child will face a bullying situation. The question is, what side will the child be on? Will they be the one who is being bullied, a witness to someone being pushed around and made fun of, or will they be the instigator? In each instance, believe it or not, reading can teach a child how to deal with these situations. Again, there are a plethora of children’s books that deal with this subject and how to handle it. Allow a child to be prepared by reading some of them.

How to View Themselves

How a child views the world and how they see themselves often go hand in hand. A child with a poor worldview can often feel isolated and afraid. A positive view of the external can leave their head lifted high and more confident about themselves. However, a personal view goes beyond the covers of a book. If a child’s self-esteem is crushed by a parent or someone close to them, then no book in print can overcome such obstacles. But that is another blog entirely. Just understand that in a positive environment, a good book will reinforce positive teaching. Stories like The Ugly Duckling and The Ugly Five all teach about uniqueness and loving yourself for who you are. Tacky the Penguin and Giraffes Can’t Dance show a child they can be who they are in spite of what others say; that being different has its advantages. Through a book, a child can learn that it’s okay to be smart, silly, or own an imaginary dragon. They can see a variety of characters with what some would see as disadvantages and how they view themselves in a positive light. We have used the example of The Little Engine that Could before. After other engines find excuses for not wanting to pull a load of toys up a difficult hill, one small engine takes on the challenge. She believed that even though she was small that she could do what she sets her heart out to do. That confidence allows her to succeed at the immense task in front of her. “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can… I thought I could, I thought I could, I thought I could.” Stories like this, with proper adult guidance, will challenge a child into believing they can do anything if they have the determination to do it.

Final Thoughts 

As a child travels through the adventures of a book, lessons are learned. Every book has a premise or an expected outcome after reading it. Teaching a child about making friends, tying one’s shoes, and believing they can be whatever they choose to be, are important life lessons in their progression to becoming an adult. It is a great thing that literature helps reinforce the lessons we are verbally teaching our children. We can use the stories our kids read as examples of good behavior and the consequences of poor decisions. As you open the pages of the story you read to your child tonight, or the book they read to you, ask yourself, “What is the lesson this book is teaching, and how can I use it to help my child grow?”

About the AuthorJeff S Bray

Jeff is a writer with a passion for God that comes through in everything he writes. A local First Baptist member and truck driver he loves to create works that glorify God.  In addition to his freelance work, Jeff has written a series of books called the Elissa the Curious Snail series which helps parents introduce basic faith concepts like prayer, even in the face of adversity, into their teachings in a fun and entertaining way. No faithful home with children or grandchildren should be without a copy. See my books at

5 Surprising Benefits of Reading Hard Copy Books

Before you throw away your stacks of real books and switch to online reading only, you should know that there is research concerning the positive things about hard copy books. Today, many individuals are focused on getting rid of the clutter in their homes, leading to only reading books on electronic devices. But there are many reasons to keep paper books in your home.

Benefit 1: Improving Your Writing Skills

By reading real paper books, you and your children can improve your writing skills. When you or your child hold a book rather than an electronic device, you will spend more time looking at the sentence structure and punctuation, helping with writing technical papers or your own fictional stories.

Benefit 2: Reducing Your Stress Levels (And Money Spent)

If you are feeling stressed at home or work, then you can quickly pick up a real book to read a few pages. It is also possible to keep an assortment of books in your vehicle to read while waiting for your children at school or while waiting for your turn at a physician’s office. Real hard copy books are available at low prices at garage sales and flea markets, but you can also borrow the items at a local library. However, you probably can’t afford to have multiple electronic devices for your family, and the price of an average ebook is on the rise, to the point that they are becoming more expensive the hard copies. That’s an expensive electronic device plus the average cost of every ebook you want to read. In that case, the hard copy wins, since you don’t need anything to read it on.

Benefit 3: Preventing Memory Loss

When you are concerned about dementia conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, you should read real books as much as possible. With a hard copy book, you can grab it to read a few pages while television commercials are on. Alternatively, if you have children who can’t seem to maintain focus for extended amounts of time, then providing real paper books for them can improve their cognitive abilities, as they won’t be tempted to jump into an electronic game your e-reader could provide. Additionally, tacklings a hard copy book may help your memory and cognitive abilities absorb the material in a way ebooks will not.

Benefit 4: Devoted Readers Are Less Likely To Get Into Drugs

Readers are less likely to get into drugs because with books they can escape from reality for a bit, they provide distraction and educational opportunities they’ll enjoy. A book can be a particularly subtle way to bring your teenager back from harmful activities. Since they don’t like to be nagged and will respond better if you’re in command of your emotions, you can approach them with other ways to engage them, and therefore, take away time that they could be drinking or smoking. If you have the time, consider starting a small family book club with them, buying them their own hardback copies of books teens are bound to find interesting (for example, we’re fan of this book for its compelling and complicated themes). If you’re a little pressed for money, libraries often have book club sets to borrow as well.

Benefit 5: Learning About a Variety Of Different Things

When looking for books at either the store or the library, you’re exposed to everything there. From staff picks to bestsellers, to more obscure titles. It’s different from shopping online for an ebook, which can lead you around in similar circles, and thus not encourage you to branch out. Go to your local library or bookstore, strike up a conversation with a bookkeeper or librarian, you never know what they can recommend to you. It might just be your next new favorite.

Have a Reading Area In Your Home

Make sure to create a reading area in your home where you and your children have a few or a thousand favorite hard copy books. Have a relaxing chair and pillows in that area so that anyone can enjoy reading a real book, and maintain an atmosphere and space free of electronics, helping you feel unplugged.


Books vs. e-books: The science behind the best way to read | CBS News

Alcohol Rehab in St. Louis: Bringing your Teens Back from the Brink | Midwest Telemedicine Institute  
The case against e-readers: Why reading paper books is better for your mind | The Washington Post

E-Books are on the decline and people are switching back to print | Good E-Reader

Books That Can Help Your Child Overcome Fear of the Doctor

As a parent, there are certain stages we go through with our children. One stage that seems to hit every kid at one point or another is fear of the doctor. This might be because of numerous reasons, such as fear of pain that might be the result of exams or shots. Luckily there are books that will boost your child’s confidence about the doctor’s office and bring some much-needed relief to your peace of mind.

The Berenstain Bears Go To The Doctor

There are many reasons kids might be scared of going to the doctor; sometimes they get shots with big needles and the others times, they’re subject to examinations that happen within their personal space. If you want to combat this feeling, maybe gift your child “The Berenstain Bears Go To The Doctor” by Stan and Jan Berenstain. It’s a book about the regular check-ups. It should help your kid establish the expectation that they will be going to the doctor regularly and that this will be a good thing for their overall health.

Doctor Maisy

Sometimes, kids go to the doctor when they are feeling bad, and the natural fear and anxiety that they regularly have is heightened. But, to get better, it must be communicated that a doctor’s visit will be necessary. To try and cement this concept to them, try giving your child a book like “Doctor Maisy” by Maisy Books, to help your child recognize the benefits of going to the doctor. Here we show Maise pretend to be a doctor to better the condition of one of her stuffed animals. It’s a positive depiction of doctors that will certainly boost the confidence of children facing a doctor’s visit when they aren’t feeling so well.

How Do Dinosaurs Get Well Soon?

Perhaps the most relevant book of the lot is “How Do Dinosaurs Get Well Soon?” by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague. This book is about a frightened dinosaur who finally overcomes his fears and visits the doctor to get the treatment he needs. This dinosaur is stubborn and reluctant, so it will be an excellent opportunity for children to recognize their behavior in him, and hopefully, when they see his small journey, they will be a bit more reasonable about the whole ordeal.


It is natural for kids to be scared of the dreaded doctor visits. Once they have gone to the visit, they will wonder why they were afraid in the first place. By reading these books, children will grow out of their fear of the doctor. Do keep in mind that at times, children have a legitimate concern of the doctor that could be born from genuine malpractice or genuine bad experiences that will need to be addressed. According to medical malpractice lawyers, if you suspect that a doctor performs negligent actions or inactions in regards to your child, you should probably investigate the situation for both your child’s health, and other childrens’ as well.  


This article first appeared on

Keeping Your Child Reading Through the Summer Months

Just because it is Summertime, it does not mean that it is time to put the books away and have a three-month break from learning. Education is a year-round activity. Studies have shown that children can lose some of what they learned during the summer months. This is why the first few weeks of school is always review. This is taxing on teachers who want to get to the new stuff. It is also partially why many schools are choosing to have year-round schooling; to help children continue learning and not forget things from previous years.

During the summer, with family vacations, camps, and overall education burnout, it can become easy to neglect reading. Unless you have an established reading plan already in place, chances are the likelihood your child will pick up a book during the summer are slim to none. This is where we as parents need to be involved. But we don’t have to do it alone. There are many summer programs that your child can become engaged in that will encourage them in their reading and help keep their minds sharp through August.

Talk to Your Child’s Teacher

The first person to contact should be your child’s teacher. In fact, most of the time in the final weeks of school, your child may bring home a flyer for different reading recommendations that are available to you. From a guide to prepare your child for the next grade to a list of books or programs, the resources are available to give your child the ability to continue learning.

Most of the suggestions will be for websites that have information about Summer Reading programs. Many of these will be at a location like a library; your school may even have a program they offer. Online courses are also available. Some do charge a fee, however, if you shop around you can find one that will be in your price range.

Visit the Local Library

There is no better place to learn about reading programs than your local library. They host a variety of different events to boost your child’s interest in reading through the summer. They have days dedicated to certain topics, authors, or genres. Each grade level will have a different day, or time, that they will meet. Once there, they will engage in activities like learning games, story time, and of course lots of reading. If your child is lucky, they could even meet the author of a favorite children’s book.

Libraries have worked hard to make these events more like playtime than school time. Our local library has a weekly event that in addition to promoting reading, they will have a theme for that week. One week will be about Science, another week they will be about music, and yet another about magic and mystery. And that is just three weeks. Check out your library’s website for the options they have for your little one.

Develop Something on Your Own

If either of those are not available to you, you could develop something on your own. This is where a Book Fair can help. You can prepare for the summer months by stocking up on books for your child to read. These won’t be like textbooks; they chose these books themselves. You could also visit a library or bookstore to obtain a stash of books. Either way, the point is to keep your child engaged.

Another good option would be to purchase an eReader. This makes reading available with just the click of a button. If you have a library card then you can digitally check out books, then you would have an endless supply of material from which to choose. This will be beneficial if your child starts a book and doesn’t like it. It is much easier than going back to a physical library or store to make a return.

Those lists that come home at the end of the year could provide you with some ideas as well. Our child’s school sent us a flyer about reading programs, but in addition, that flier told us what to expect for our soon-to-be fourth grader. They tell us that fourth grade is somewhat of a transition year. They will be introduced to textbooks. In a couple of years, she will be in Jr. High and will have to draw on what she will learn next year. So, this summer we can begin to help her get prepared for what she will experience this fall.

Final Thoughts

I know, just because your kids get a Summer doesn’t mean that you receive the same threemonth break. You still have to go towork, come home and cook dinner, and still have the mounds of laundry that need to be done. Come June, parents often take a breath and put school away with the backpacks until they get the Wal-Mart ad in August promoting Back-to-School sales. Only then do we start to look at what the next year holds.

Your child doesn’t have to go through the valleys of forgetting what happened last year. Reading keeps your child’s mind sharp. It helps them to grow. It will put them in a better position going into the next year than a child who spent their summer in front of the TV or with a controller in their hands.

It’s all about developing a hunger to read in them. This begins young, but when that hunger is established, it will be fun to read for your young reader. Katie DiCamillo, author of such books as Because of Winn-Dixie and The Tale of Despereaux is quoted, “Reading should not be presented to children as a chore, a duty. It should be offered as a gift.” Once that gift is acknowledged you will find yourself telling your son or daughter that it’s time to put the book down and get some sleep.

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” -Dr. Seuss

How Children’s Reading has Changed from When You Were a Kid

When we look around at kids today, the popularity of anything electronic can be easily identified. From smartphones to iPods. From smart watches to the e-reader, the world is suffering from technology overload, and the only question is; What comes next?

The world has changed from when you and I were growing up. I grew up in an age where going outside was not a punishment, and you could always identify where the gang was by where the bicycles were at. There were no electronic devices that occupied our attention; video games just barely became popular. Using the imagination was a must to have any fun at all, and books were the triggering mechanism that unlocked the mind’s eye into worlds unknown.

Just like video games and playing with friends has changed over the years, so has the dissemination of anything that has to do with reading. Hardbacks and paperbacks are now tiny downloadable files that require no physical storage space at all. The definition of carrying your books around with you is no longer about the size of your book bag, but about the size of your internal storage. And finding your favorite book has become much easier.

Face it, reading has undergone a dramatic change since we were kids. It’s one of those, “back when I was your age…” stories we plan to tell the younger generation. And it all began with Mr. Dewey.

Reading 30 Years Ago

If you weren’t searching for a book in your school’s library or waiting for the Book Fair from Scholastic, you were visiting a local library. Schools even orchestrated field trips to the local library. When in High School, if your project required research and your school library did not have what you were looking for, you needed to go to the city library to check out a book on your subject.

“Check out a book?” You may ask.

Back in the day when you wanted to read a book you needed to go to the library. However, they did not have fancy signs over each section. They were labeled in the most peculiar way. It was a filing system that involved a series of numbers. These numbers were written on index cards with a brief description of the book it was attached to. These cards were filed in numerical order in long rectangular drawers, part of a much larger filing cabinet with many of these drawers.

To find the book you had to be familiar with the system. Each format of the book had a three-digit classification. That was split into subclasses that were separated by a decimal. For instance, if you wanted to find If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff your Dewey decimal would be 813.54 NUM; 800 is the Literature Class, 13 narrows it down to American/Canadian Fiction. The .54 further pinpoints it to 20th Century, 1945-1999. Then the NUM is the Author’s first three letters of her last name. This number is fixed and unless the system changes it will remain this way. Once you found the correct card in the catalog index box, you had to write down the number then look through the shelves to locate the same number which was attached to the spine of the book.

Crazy, right?

Reading 20 Years Ago

Remember walking through the mall and seeing a B. Dalton bookstore? Advertisements for the latest blockbuster with a picture of the cover and a life-size cardboard cutout of the Author stood out in the entry display. The stores were rather small with a limited selection, that is until the birth of the superstore brought on by the purchase of B. Dalton by the most popular chain out there; Barnes and Noble in the late 90s.

The birth of the Book Super Store brought in a new era for reading. With the library, you could only check it out; then you had to return it by the two-week due date. In a bookstore, you could buy the book and keep it. There were no forms to fill out and no waiting period for the Scholastic delivery. It was close to instant access for those who loved reading.

When Barnes and Noble noticed the growing popularity of coffee houses, they partnered with Starbucks Coffee. Even now you will not likely see a Barnes and Noble Bookstore without a Starbucks attached to it. You can buy your book, then sit at a table, or even comfy chairs, and enjoy a hot beverage as you read the latest book by your favorite author.

Reading Today

Today, it may seem the Book Superstore is on the decline. With technology advances, eBooks are becoming more popular. Amazon came out with one of the first mainstream E-readers, the Kindle, in 2008. Barnes and Noble released their Nook in 2010. Both were extremely popular and still are. Although if you have an advanced enough smartphone, you can download both e-reader applications and read books from your phone.

Even the bookstore has changed. E-readers have access to local libraries and major booksellers, like Barnes and Noble. These are also downloadable applications that with a membership, give you instant access to many books. Not only is it more convenient than having to visit a brick and mortar store, the book is often cheaper because of the cost of printing.

Even with the popularity of reading devices and mobile applications, something has got to be said about having a physical book in front of you. Especially for a child. You see many kids nowadays walking around with electronic devices; they are growing up without knowing what a book looks like, feels like, or smells like. You know what I’m talking about. Who doesn’t like the smell of a new book? You cannot get that from an electronic device.

It is kind of sad really, many of the beloved books we grew up on are no longer stored on shelves of a bookcase, but files on the hard drive of a mobile device. But to have a book to turn the pages physically; to open, close. And set it down without the worry of battery loss, has drifted off to somewhere in the past. Yep, it is definitely a different world than what we grew up in.

Final Thoughts

Technology does have a positive aspect; the world of reading is literally at our fingertips. Nearly every book imaginable is available with just a click of a mouse or a tap on the screen. The only limit is how large the internal storage is on your device. And even that issue can be solved with a cloud-based file system that will only download the book you are currently reading.

With technology seeming to take over, do not neglect the personal advantages of having a hard copy on hand. Books can be a bonding experience between an adult and a child. A book that was read to you by your parent or grandparent, you can read to your child or grandchild. Ebooks are handy yes, but you never have to recharge a physical book. And when the power goes out in your home, and you’ve forgotten to charge your device, you can always grab a flashlight and thumb through Where the Wild Things Are with your little one.