Help your child prepare for reading

Tips for teaching pre-reading skills to your young one

There are countless ways that parents and caregivers can enhance a child’s chances for success in learning to read.  Talking to young children, responding to their babbling, singing to them, telling them stories and reading books to them every day are important preparation for reading.  Try pointing to the pictures in books and talk about them.  Buy board books and allow the child to interact with the books – touching, turning pages, even chewing! 

More tips:

1.  When parents actively expose their children to books, they learn the parts of a book – the front and back, the title and the pages.  They learn that books are read from the top of the page to the bottom and from the left side to the right side.  Talk about the beginning, middle and end.

2.  Ask them questions about the books they “read.”  Encourage them to describe pictures in the books.  When they are struggling to tell a little story, look right in their eyes and listen intently.  These practices can help to instill self- confidence in the child.

3.  Let them choose some of the books that are purchased, or borrowed from the library.  This will help to instill a love of reading in children.  Be sure to read alphabet books, nursery rhymes and other rhyming stories.  Rhyming is an important skill for achieving success in reading, writing and spelling.

4.  To help young children begin to develop a strong vocabulary, ask them about the names of objects in books and everywhere.

5.  Encourage your child to describe what they see in picture books.  Ask them how the pictures make them feel. Display a sense of humor when looking at funny books.  Laugh a lot with your child.

6.  Talk about the characters and the action.  When they are ready, have them practice retelling the story. They will need help and some prompting at first, but soon the picture will give them good clues.

7.  When children see their parents reading, a warm connection with reading is established. Developing a true love of reading will hopefully keep them motivated to read their whole life.

Sharing the above activities with children in a fun and relaxed way will produce great results for reading readiness.  Children this age will learn more if “teaching” is done in an informal way.  It is important to stop an activity when children show tension, tiredness or boredom. If parents consistently use these methods in a fun way, their children will learn many of the skills needed for success in reading.