Ask your child to identify words and objects during storytime.

How Can Parents Help Children Identify Words?

by Susan Revermann

Learning how to read and identify words doesn’t simply happen; it takes time and practice to get this skill down. Your child must be able to make the letter-sound connection in order to identify, read and pronounce words. To help your child learn to identify various words, you can incorporate word recognition activities throughout your child’s day.


Books are one of the best ways to help your child build her vocabulary, learn proper sentence structure and identify written words. Set aside at least 10 or 15 minutes each day to read to your child and try to work up to 30 minutes a day. Create a special reading spot to make it more fun and engaging for both of you, like a reading fort made of sheets and chairs. As you read to your child, point to the words as you go. Ask her to identify certain objects, such as “Where is the elephant?” and “Can you find the letter C?” Choose books that involve topics and characters that your child likes and is interested in. These will capture and keep her attention. Repetition aids a child’s learning, so reading your child’s favorite books over and over helps.


Flashcards offer your child a basic visual to help her learn. Grab a stack of 3-by-5-inch note cards, scissors, a glue stick and some old magazines, like kids’ animal magazines. Cut some of the pictures out and glue one on each note card. On the blank side of the note card, write the name of the object in large letters. After you have created a stack, go through the cards one by one, showing your child the word first, having her guess the word and then showing her the picture.

Word Activities

Even if your child doesn’t spell words perfectly, she can benefit from trying to spell out some words. Encourage your child to play with magnet letters and try to spell out words she knows, maybe “cat” or “dog.” Hand her some paper and markers and ask her to write letters and words that she knows. She can also go around the house and copy words that she sees. Even copying the words from her storybooks helps her get familiarized with words she comes across.

Everyday Activities

As you and your child go through your daily routine, you can find plenty of word identification opportunities. Point out words on your child’s cereal box, milk jug or juice container. Road signs, like “Stop,” “Go” or “Walk,” can be used to help your child identify familiar words. Store advertisements, like “Apples on Sale” or “Free” can be used, too. Even if she doesn’t recognize the entire word right away, if she can identify some of the letters, it’s a start.

Photo Credits

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