Make your own books – This does not need to be a book of words, it can be a book of pictures or drawings or some other medium you can be creative with.
Make your own Read Along – If you have a book, and get the audio book version of it, use them together to create your own read along (check your library for both). Audio books can often be found in video form as well, turn on the Closed Caption option to follow along. Downloadable copies are available for ‘out of copyright’ books for free. If you open the file, you can use the voice reader on your computer to read it to you. Some devices may offer a text to voice option as well. Apps are available in some app stores.
If you find an out-of-copyright book you want to listen to, look for it in YouTube, or another video playing site, and follow the words as it is read. Make sure the print version is the same as the sound version of the story.
Allow for creative spelling when writing. Creative or Inventive spelling is when you do the best you can to write the letters you hear when you say a word. It can often leave out vowels (a e i o u) or us simple letters instead of letter blends such as K for CH, a Z for S, F for PH, etc. It can often be read back easily enough. For example: CRZY for Crazy, Fone for Phone, Wrk for Work, etc. The point is to allow the creative process to flow and not let the inability to spell a word interfere with the process. Spelling can be corrected later on.
Make lists – Lists are a great way to learn how to read and write. Pictures can be used at first, then creative/inventive spelling, someone can help with spelling, voice to text technology can be used. A dictionary can be used too. Physically writing words can help with word retention.
Watch a movie with the Closed Caption on. If you are watching a DVD or Video that offers Closed Caption, put it on and shut the sound off. Use a movie, tv show, or video you are familiar with to start. Read the bottom of the screen to the best of your ability. The only problem with this method is that not all Closed Captions are 100% accurate. Another option is to use Karaoke or Sing-Alongs
Read a book together – This is a tried and true way to learn how to read or to improve reading skills. Two copies of the same book can be used; digital, physical, printed, ect., one person can read, while the other follows along. This is a great way to use a story made by the person (learner) that has been written down by another person.
Sing A Song – Use a Sing Along video or Karaoke to learn how to read. Start with a song you are familiar with and like, then challenge yourself to learn a new one.
Read your favorite song – Get the lyrics to your favorite song, and without listening to the music, read the words. You may be surprised by what the words really are! Listen to a new song and try to read along with it. Make a game out of it and see how many words you get right/know before you hear the song. Print out the lyrics and circle all the words you know before you hear the song. Follow the words as you hear them sung. Try reading the words the second time without the music. Count how many more you know, and then play the music again, providing the method is being enjoyed.
If you know how to read, and want to improve your skills, think of the types of stories or genres you are interested in and go from there. Some ideas include: Mystery, True Crime, Romance, Horror, Gothic Literature, Poems, Dramas, History, Science Fiction, Non-Fiction, Biographical, Action, Thriller, Cookbooks, Business, Self-Help, Health, Comics, Home and Garden, Animals, Hobbies, Crafts, Humor, Religious, Fantasy, Travel, etc..
Choose from websites, blogs, books, magazines, newsletters, newspapers, and other publications.
There is nothing wrong with liking multiple topics. Start at a level you feel most comfortable with (yes, “children’s” books are fine) so you can get to know the vocabulary of the topic, then move up from there. Don’t let anyone limit you, or stop you from starting from where you need to begin. Use a dictionary, spell checker, or an internet dictionary or thesaurus to help you learn on your own. When you come across a word you don’t know, but don’t want to stop reading, underline the word if the publication is yours, or take a second to write the word down to look up later. A recording device can help with that. If you can not read the word, spell the letters out, and keep going. If you’re on the internet, almost every word can be typed in and pronounced for you. Use the tools available to you. Never limit yourself. Never think you can not do it. It can be frustrating to build upon your skill level, keep going, it is totally worth it. Every new topic, subject, genre will have a new vocabulary to learn. Be patient with yourself.