There are some simple yet important skills that your child must have before he is ready to read. Parents can easily incorporate these skills into play, activities, and time together to support early reading success.
Here are 10 easy steps to get started:
- Find things that are the same or different. Talk about what makes things the same, or why things are different. An example could be “How are a circle and a square the same?” (They’re both shapes.) “How are they different?” (A square has four sides, a triangle has three.)
- Look for big or small comparisons. “How would you tell someone about the difference between an elephant and a mouse? Or, a mouse and an ant?”
- Review the alphabet as “partners” with both capital and lowercase together (Dd). This makes for an easier transition to the printed word.
- Classify. “Which one does not belong, apple, pear, fish, or banana?” “Why?”
- Combine sight and hearing practice. Can you see the birds? Can you hear them?
- Practice letter sounds using both the sound and a picture. You can use an actual picture, or have him close his eyes to make a mental image. For example, “Bb, as in baby.”
- Look for patterns, both visual and auditory, such as the placement of bricks on a walkway, or the musical repetition in the song “Bingo.”
- Read nursery rhymes and poems together to practice rhyming.
- Help your child change beginning or ending letters in a word to make a new word. For example, “How can you change the word ‘cat’ to ‘sat’?” Or “How can you change ‘cat’ to ‘car’?”
- Use temporal words like first, next, then, before, after, etc. to help your child understand story sequence.
All of these simple strategies help a young child practice, enjoy, and celebrate the pleasure of learning to read!