As a pianist who plays by ear and reads musical notation, I had always found it easier to play by ear. Most people are the opposite of this. Musical notation consists of many symbols, numbers, strange words, and notes that were very confusing to me. I would start playing pieces of music then feel as if I was getting nowhere after making several mistakes and not being able to play the music better than I did when I started an hour earlier. Of course this lead to a lot of frustration! I found myself not enjoying playing piano and ready to give up until I discovered a solution that made me a much better musician and a less frustrated person.
I discovered that an online music store has a lot of information about sight reading practice and several excellent downloads available for everyone to learn from. Gone are the days of playing horribly and having to listen to my own terrible playing that did not sound like the music that it was intended to sound like. My friends and family actually want to listen to me play instead of running out of the room. It doesn't take me forever to learn a song and I now have the option of reading music quickly or playing by ear. I often do both of them for the same piece of music and compare what is written to my own version. This gives me the best of both worlds.
The following are a few of the tips that I learned about sight reading music.
Play the music very slowly. The faster you play, the more mistakes you are going to make. It takes time for your mind and body to feel comfortable with something that it has never done before, especially playing new music on an instrument.
Choose easy pieces of music when you are starting to learn how to sight read music. Difficult music that is above your current skilly level will only lead to failure and the music not sounding the way that it is intended to. As you become a better sight reader you will be able to move forward to more difficult skill levels of music.
Find a recording of the music and listen to it carefully before you attempt to play it. This will help you to become familiar with the music so that you will be able to recognize whether or not you are playing it properly.
Learn one measure of music before moving on to another. Don't try to play the entire piece over and over. You will learn the entire song faster if you learn small parts of it before moving onwards. As you approach the end of the music you will probably come across repeated sections that you may have already learned earlier in the song.