Reading is one of the core fundamentals to early childhood education. Giving your preschooler a head start on this skill will be one of the best things you can do for them!
Learning to read can be tasking and takes time. By using the proper activities to prepare your preschooler the process can be made much less daunting.
By following these tips on getting your preschooler ready to read you are preparing your little one to have success with one of the most challenging tasks of their early childhood education journey.
6 Tips to Get your Preschooler Ready to Read
1. Read to Them
The first tip to help prepare your preschooler to read is to read to them. Reading to children has many impactful benefits for you as well as for your little one.
Research has shown that home literacy has a positive impact on brain development and language and cognitive abilities. Another study done by the American Academy of Pediatrics showed that preschool aged children whose parents read to them had decreased attention problems and less hyperactivity issues when they started school.
Reading to your preschooler will also introduce new words and sounds to them. They will be able to begin to recognize words as they associate them with your reading and the pictures that are in the book.
An added benefit of reading to your preschooler is the bonding effect that takes place. Reading is a great way to have fun and loving quality time. It is also a great way to have engaging conversations. Talking with your little one is another great way to stimulate brain and language development earlier on.
2. Letter Recognition
The next tip to help your preschooler get ready to read is letter recognition. Being able to identify the letters of the alphabet will help your preschooler a lot as they begin their journey into reading.
This is the starting point to learning to read. It is recommended to start teaching your little one the alphabet earlier on so that by the time they are around age 3 they will know their letters very well.
By the time they are ready to go to school they will be alphabet masters! Some great activities for helping your toddler/preschooler learn the alphabet includes:
- educational videos
- board books
3. Learning Phonics to get your Preschooler Ready to Read
The next tip to helping prepare your preschooler to read is to teach them phonics. Phonics is simply the relationship between letters and their sounds. Once your preschooler can identify the letters of the alphabet they are now ready to learn what sounds they make.
I have actually taught my preschoolers phonics along with letter recognition. For example: “This is the letter U. Uh uh u. U is for umbrella.” We took our time and went through each letter. Now, my three year old can tell you 2-4 words for each letter of the alphabet.
By teaching them the alphabet and the letters you are enabling them to put an image with the phonic sound and this will help them to eventually put the two together to form words!
There are many methods and activities you can use to help your preschooler with phonics. Flashcards are a great way to start. By using them you isolate the letter and picture of something that starts with that letter. You can then ask your preschooler what the picture is, what letter it starts with and the sound that letter makes.
We have had lots of success and fun with some of these phonics games.
4. Fluency and Vocabulary
The next tip to focus on after you have been reading to your little one, learning the alphabet and then practicing phonics is fluency. This includes being able to put those letter sounds together to form words.
We have to learn to walk before we can run. This is the same for reading. Take time to help your preschooler build vocabulary by blending those letters and phonics sounds that they have been learning.
Some great ways to have your preschooler practice fluency is to take a particular category of words at a time and practice them. For example you may spend one 1 week on sports words like: football, soccer, basketball, etc. The next day or week could be animals and then vehicles. You can use flashcards for this as well!
Another way to practice fluency is to have your preschooler repeat after you as you read out loud to them. This will not only help with pronunciation and fluency, but it will also give them practice with using expression as they read!
5. Sight Words
The next tip following fluency and vocabulary is learning sight words. Having your child being able to now read words independently is a huge step on the journey to learning to read.
Showing your preschooler that they can now identify words and not just letters will give them the boost of confidence they need to keep going! Remember to have them practice! Practice! Practice!
There are many lists of suggested sight words out there. Here a few of my favorites:
- High-frequency words
- Sight words by level
- Dolch words
Practicing comprehension is the last tip on this list of tips to help get your preschooler ready to read. It’s great that your preschooler can now identify letters and sounds, put these together to form words and even read some words and short sentences.
This is awesome progress, but we also want them to be able to comprehend what they are reading. This is a crucial component to learning to read and it should be started early just as with the other segments of early childhood education.
A great way to practice comprehension with your preschooler is to talk about what you’re reading! Ask them questions as the story goes along. Who are our main characters? Where is the setting of the story? What do you think will happen next? Why do you think that happened?
All of the questions will let you know if your preschooler can truly understand the text of the story. You can use these answers to guide you on which levels of books you select. Remember each child is different and works at their own pace.
So now you have some essential tips to follow to help get your preschooler ready to read. I truly believe following these tips will help you and your preschooler reach success with learning to read.
Start by identifying the alphabet, then work towards the sounds of those letters, then build fluency and vocabulary skills. You can then go to the next level by practicing sight words.
Once you have reached the stage of being able to read short sentences, have your preschooler continue to practice more and more. It’s very important to remember to continue reading to them throughout this entire process. This has many benefits such as bonding and quality time.
You can also get a feel for how well your child is comprehending by the discussions that you have with them on the books that you are reading together.
I do hope these tips have been helpful to you. Do you have any questions or other tips for helping get preschoolers ready to read? I would love to help and hear other tips! Leave them in the comments!