Learning how to read is a really exciting time for children and parents. Although most children start to learn how to read in elementary school, there are several pre-reading skills that they will need to develop before then. Parents can help strengthen these pre-reading skills to better prepare their children for when they are ready to learn to read once they enter school.
Here are 6 things you can do with your child now to help prepare them to learn to read.
- Be an example. Let your children see you reading for pleasure. Show them that reading is fun! Turn off the TV and put down your phone. Pick up a book or magazine in your free time. When your kids see you reading for fun, they are more likely to pick up a book themselves.
- Ask Questions. Before you begin reading, ask your child what they think the book is going to be about. Ask them how they think the boy with the frowny face feels. Before turning the page, ask your child what they think will happen next. When you finish the story, ask what they liked or didn’t like about the book. This encourages them to think about what they just heard and to ask questions of their own.
- Run your index finger under the text as you read together. This is teaching that we read from left to right and top to bottom. This is also teaching them that the text on the page has meaning.
- Make silly noises. Use different sounds for each character or animal in the story. Read with expression. Have them join you! This is fun and engaging for your child.
- Take time to look at the pictures. Have your child point to different objects they see in the book and name them. Have them to point to the red balloon or the big dog. Describe what you see when you look at the pictures.
- Have fun! Keep this time stress-free and with no expectations of your child. Don’t worry if your child won’t sit still or if you can’t finish the book. If your child wants to skip some pages or read the same book over and over- let them! Pushing a child to learn to read before they are developmentally ready can frustrate them and discourage them from wanting to learn in the future. Continue reading together every day and just have fun doing so!