At home and in preschool, the best way to develop pre-reading skills is through fun and games. Here's how to start your child off right:
Connect With the Teacher
- Share any concerns you have with your child's teacher. Keep in mind that speech and language delays can be a red flag for future reading problems.
Questions To Ask:
- Is my child on track with speech, socialization, and fine and gross motor skills?
- Does he show precursors for reading problems, such as significant trouble pronouncing words, following directions, remembering nursery rhymes, or learning numbers, ABCs, or days of the week? If so, how can we help?
What To Do If There's a Problem:
- First, have your pediatrician do a thorough medical checkup to rule out hearing or vision problems or other health-related issues that could be impacting learning.
- If you still sense something’s wrong, have your child tested for speech and language and learning delay.
Things to Do at Home
- Talk, talk, talk: Tell about your day, and ask specific questions about his, such as, "What story did your teacher read today?" or "What colors did you paint with?"
- Tell stories as you play: When building with blocks, for example, ask your child to tell you a story about what he's making.
- Take dictation. Type up and print your preschooler's stories on the computer. Or make a photo album of a favorite event and let your child dictate the captions.
- Make time to rhyme. Rhymes and repetitive refrains draw children's attention to the consonant sounds at the beginnings and ends of words, making it easier for them to learn letter sounds and break down words phonetically later on in kindergarten and the early grades.
- Surround kids with books: Preschoolers are ready for longer picture books with detailed plots and illustrations. But your child will still want to hear books from babyhood, along with stories on real-life themes like starting school or welcoming a new sibling.