By: Courtney Newman
Even though it felt like you barely blinked, your baby is now standing before you as a preschooler, ready and eager to learn. We all recognize the importance of reading skills, but where do you even begin? How do you begin transitioning from solely reading books aloud to helping them learn to read?
It can be a lot. It’s a big step, and it can be a little intimidating. After all, every website and hack on Pinterest has its tips and tricks, don’t they? In reality, every child is different, and not every tip or idea will work well with each child. However, that doesn’t mean those tips aren’t worthwhile, just try not to get discouraged if they happen to not work for your family.
5 Signs Your Preschooler is Ready to Read
While not every child will demonstrate all of these signs of reading readiness, it’s a good place to start! Before we get into the signs, though, you may be wondering, “What is reading readiness?” When children have reached a certain stage in their development, they will begin showing an interest in learning more, which is manifested in a variety of ways. We refer to these as signs of “reading readiness,” which is essentially a stage when children are going to be most receptive to learning more advanced lessons than they have previously.
- Actively engaging during storytime.
- Pretending to read out loud.
- Demonstrating strong feelings about which books to read.
- Pretending to read on their own.
- Understanding letter sounds and the idea of sounding out words.
5 Ways to Help Your Preschooler Prepare to Read
Now that you know your child is ready to read, there are a few steps you can take to prepare them. Take your time, relax, and make these fun. The more your preschooler is enjoying themselves, the more they will progress. Preschool is all about encouraging children to learn through fun and the natural curiosity that stems from play.
In addition to the five ways below, perhaps you may like the idea of game schooling. There are several excellent reading comprehension games available on the market for preschoolers. These games aim to help children learn to read and to understand phonics instruction, while keeping the experience fun, lighthearted, and without any pressure.
The teaching of reading is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. There will be regressions, there will be obstacles. This is an entirely new concept to preschoolers, and it can be difficult for them to process at times. We can get headaches when struggling to learn something new, and kids may experience the equivalent struggle in their own ways. It’s important to try to stay encouraging and positive, while also praising their success.
- Work on oral language skills. Give your preschooler time to talk about things that matter to them. Ask them to describe how they are feeling, or what they think about certain things. Truth be told, it can be tiring, but it will begin sharpening your child’s abilities to channel their thoughts into words. Another idea is to consider making a game from rhyming words together! Ask your child to think of a word that rhymes with the one you say, and vice versa. It’s a sure way to get them laughing! These are considered pre-reading skills.
- Read aloud daily. You have likely already been reading with your child since they were an infant, but let’s put a twist on read alouds now. Consider reading books in which they are specifically interested, or books they choose for themselves. Reading with kids, especially when they have a say in which books to read, can motivate their reading engagement.
- Use fill-in-the-blanks with favorite books. Is there a book you read daily and could recite from memory? Try skipping over words and ask them to fill it in verbally as you read.
- Describe how the book works. For example, point out the cover, the title, how to turn pages properly, reading from left-to-right, and so on.
- Make literature a part of everyday routine. Let’s make storytime more than just before bed or naps. Talk with your preschooler about your favorite books, about why we love reading, and let them catch you reading books yourself. You can inspire an interest in reading just from demonstrating your own.