Helping Your Preschooler Prepare for Reading

There is a saying; from birth to third grade a child is learning to read-from third grade through life a child is reading to learn.  So what can parents of young children do to help prepare their child?   First remember that all children learn differently and at different rates, no two are alike.  Learning to read happens over time.  It requires interest and lots of practice with the help of those who already know how to read.  There are many things that you as a parent or older sibling can do to help preschoolers learn to read. 

Spend time everyday talking with your child.  Talk to them about what you are doing, what they are doing, and what you are going to do.  Ask them questions and give them time to answer.  They do not have to have the correct answer or your answer; the idea is to allow them to formulate their own answer.  Have conversations with your child.  Go for a minimum of five exchanges back and forth.  Take them places and show them new things, this gives them vocabulary and an understanding of how things all relate.  And expose them to books regularly.

Have lots of reading materials available in your home.  Show the child how you use and enjoy reading whether it is a novel, magazine, cookbook, or owner’s manual.  Go to the library or bookstore and get books about subjects that your child shows interest in and read them to him/her.  Instruct your child on how to read by using your finger to point along with the words as you read aloud to him/her. Play reading games with your child such as; what store is this? As you drive past familiar store signs that you frequent with your child.  But most of all make reading time a cozy time for you and your child.  Many parents like to share reading as part of their nighttime ritual.  Most importantly, give your child many chances to read with you and talk about what you are reading.