You May be Missing These Simple Ways to Teach Reading
Many parents ask what they can do at home to help their preschool-age children learn how to read. With so much conflicting advice and so many “literacy” products out there, it’s hard to know what to do. Flashcards at dinner? Phonics apps? Special reading techniques?
It’s actually even simpler than that! In week 1 of our Summer Reading Program, the best thing you can do to help your young children learn how to read is to read aloud to them every day. There are also a few easy adjustments you can make to your existing daily routines to lay the groundwork for reading:
Turn Your Home into a “Print Rich Environment”
Try putting labels on objects around the house at children’s eye level. Keep it simple: chair, table, lamp. Labeling drawers and toy bins with pictures and names of clothes and toys can double as a way to encourage kids to put their own things away! (In this picture – we attached paper drawer labels with clear contact paper — easy!)
Cook Together Using a Recipe
Does your child already help you with simple cooking tasks, like measuring and mixing? Just add in the step of pointing to the written portion of the recipe before each step and reading it aloud. In doing this, you are demonstrating how you use written words to get information. This type of modeling has a big impact on small children!
Talk About Print You See Every Day
Talking about reading is almost as important as reading to your child. On walks, during car rides, or when riding public transit, point out written words and explain their function. (“That sign says ‘yield.’ That helps cars in this lane understand that they need to let the other cars go first – or else no one would know who should go first and there might be an accident!”)
Use Games To Make Reading Fun
Create games around letter recognition, like an alphabet scavenger hunt (“Let’s find all the letters in the alphabet. Can you find an ‘A’?”) or an I Spy Game (“I spy with my little eye a word that starts with the letter “S”. Can you find it?”). This helps children understand that reading is all around them, and that written words convey important messages.
You can play a big role in helping children associate printed words with spoken language and meaning. Integrating the above tips into your daily life will increase your child’s awareness of these “functions of print”, which is one of the most fundamental pre-reading skills!
Stefanie Paige Grossman, M.S.Ed
Early Childhood Education / Infant & Parent Development Expert
Global Program Director, Barefoot Books
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