The Joy of Teaching – An Evan-Moor Blog

Sharing creative ideas and lessons to help children learn

3 Keys for Teaching Young Children to Read: Homeschool Ideas and Resources for PreK-3rd Grade


When we teach young children to read, we often start to think of teaching letters and letter sounds. While that is a fine place to start, what do you teach next?

Teaching reading can be fun for both us and our kids, and Evan-Moor has several options to help you teach reading in ways that are effective and keep your kids wanting to read!

Key #1: Teaching Young Children to Read with Decoding

When our children are preschool age, we teach them to name letters and say basic letter sounds. We know these letters will be put together to form words. Most children enjoy learning the letters of their name first, so that is a fun first word to teach them.

As our child learns letter sounds, we soon find that letters in the English language can get tricky. Yes, each letter has its own sound, but those letter sounds can quickly change. For example, the letter “g” makes a different sound in “goat” and “giraffe.” Additionally, once we start combining letters, the sounds can change completely (as in “ight” in the word “right”). It is common for children to continue studying phonics rules throughout the elementary school grades.

It is so helpful to have a list of these phonics rules to know exactly what to introduce next when teaching young children to read. Evan-Moor has 2 popular options that are great for homeschooling: Daily Phonics and Basic Phonics Skills.

Daily Phonics is for grades 1,2,3 and 4–6 — and focuses on particular phonics skills each week. One of my favorite features is that the weekly unit begins with a single page that contains 5 quick phonics lessons for the week (typically one lesson per day). It is so easy to follow! Then there are quick practice pages to allow the child to put the new skills to use.

Basic Phonics Skills is for grades PreK–3 and can be used as a curriculum. This book invites the child to focus on one phonics skill per practice page. Personally, I like to have my child work on these in an independent practice (like workboxes) in days following our Daily Phonics lesson. This helps me to see if my child really understands the phonics skill on her own.

Key #2: Teaching Young Children to Read with Comprehension

As we are teaching young children to read, it is vital that the children understand what they are reading. My favorite way to teach reading comprehension is reading several types of reading materials. We read fiction books, nonfiction books, recipes, instructions, poems, etc. As we read each one, we talk about what we are thinking. We share what we understand with each other. It keeps us all engaged and enjoying reading together.

If you want to enrich your homeschooling with time-saving activities, Evan-Moor has multiple options for your reading instruction. One of my favorite features of these publications is that often the practice pages also include skills in other areas like writing, phonics, and vocabulary.

Reading Literary Text is offered for grades 1–6. Each unit includes the mini-book or reading passage that is needed for the week. Each unit provides a new story for your child to read! After your child reads the selection, there are practice pages to go specifically with the story. Additionally, each story is leveled in difficulty within each grade level. So homeschoolers can easily set their child up for success when they are learning to read.

Once our kids are learning to read, we can also teach them to read to learn. Evan-Moor has a truly fabulous (newly revised) book called Nonfiction Reading Practice. There are about 17 topics per book, typically on science and social studies topics. There is one brilliant aspect of this book: each topic offers 3 reading passages of varying difficulty! This is terrific if you are homeschooling more than one child, so you can select the reading passage that is just right for your child.

Reading Informational Text is another powerhouse of lessons and activities to use when teaching young children to read. This series is offered for grades 1–6 and is organized in units on a particular topic. Within each unit, there are ready-made lesson plans for vocabulary, reading comprehension, writing, and more! These topics teach kids to read to learn and provide an opportunity to use other skills related to the topic.

Key #3: Teaching Young Children to Read with Fluency

When teaching young children to read, we need to teach them to read with fluency. Reading with fluency is reading smoothly (rather than in a robotic or choppy way). There is one vital part of teaching fluency – kids should be reading material they already know how to read. This is not the time for teaching decoding. This is a time to have FUN reading.

Do your kids like to entertain you? Our kids like to put on “shows” where they use puppets or act out their favorite stories. How about doing some readers’ theater? This is where your children will retell a story by each reading their parts aloud, often using puppets or acting out what they are reading.

When teaching young children to read with fluency, we invite children to have fun reading with expression! Children practice reading out aloud in the way that we naturally speak (and maybe enjoy a little dramatic effect, too!). Leveled Readers’ Theater is available for grades 1–6 and contains topics and stories that kids enjoy. If you are involved in a homeschool co-op, readers’ theater can be a fun way to teach young children to read with fluency!

Another EASY option for teaching children to read with fluency is to have them read familiar materials from previous grade levels. Your child can read the previous grade level materials from any of these series that I have shared!

Homeschool Tip: TeacherFileBox digital lesson library

If you are trying to choose between any of these Evan-Moor books to use in your homeschooling, I have to let you in on my favorite way to get access to ALL grade levels of each of these series in digital format! Evan-Moor has created a digital lesson library of all of these books into TeacherFileBox.

You can gain access to TeacherFileBox through a monthly or annual subscription. You can search by skill, grade level, subject, or topic! What is even more amazing if that you get access to ALL grade levels of these books with your subscription. Once you subscribe, you have access to all of the fun books I shared in this blog and over 400 other titles, as well! Subscribe for a month and get the first 30 days free or get the best deal ($79.99 for a year) through the Homeschool Buyer’s Co-op.


Which of these books would you like to integrate into your homeschooling? Just let me know in the comments!

Amy Michaels is a certified teacher with 11 years of elementary classroom experience who is actively homeschooling her own children. Her mission is share the best teaching methods and resources with all homeschoolers. Amy supports parents through her podcasts, webinars, and online training for homeschoolers on her website





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