Dreams of baby prodigies have us all wanting our children to be brilliant scientists who will graduate from an Ivy League school and cure the common cold. While it seems extreme to want our child to become a phenomenon, it isn’t impossible! The little things we do actually build a foundation for literacy and success as our children go through their early education years and beyond. Here are five of those ways that we can teach our children successful preschool reading skills.
1. Model Behavior
It’s not enough to say, “Do as I say and not as I do.” Your child picks up on cues for their own behavior by how you model it. The best way to begin building that foundation for your child’s reading success is to get into reading yourself. They need to see you reading and really enjoying it. If you don’t like reading, find any type of book to enjoy and let your kids catch you doing it. If you enjoy reading, don’t hide it. Be consistent with it so that your child can see it as a habit. Talk about it with enthusiasm and share what you just read. The biggest impact on your child comes from what they see you doing.
2. Reading Routine
Make reading something fun that they look forward to. Not only is this a great time for bonding and building your relationship with your child, but it also ties pleasant memories to their childhood. A positive association to reading for your child helps them from turning into those kids who dread reading and builds positive preschool reading skills. The cool thing about spending time to build a reading routine is that it opens opportunities to have teaching moments. You can build your child’s vocabulary by talking about interesting words and objects. Talking about words and story points gets your child interacting with the story, which makes it more fun.
3. Book Hotspots
When things are tough, we tend to go to what brings us comfort. A lot of that comes from our childhood memories that are linked to things that comfort us. Make it a familiar thing for your child to be around books. Some bookstores and libraries have areas for story time, whether it is a small stage or an area with props that help engage young children. If you take them while story time isn’t going on, then be creative. Grab a few books and “play” the books out with your child as you read the stories to them.
4. Senses & Stories
The years from baby to kindergarten-age have rapid development. Movement tied with communication gets kids involved in their learning. They can learn to comprehend better. Pointing to words, using hand gestures, and body movements help build the correspondence between spoken and written words. As you point and read aloud to the words in the book, your child can visually see that you are moving from left to right in the book as you go through the story. Using these sense cues over and over helps your child to subconsciously develop preschool reading skills so that, when the time comes, it feels natural and not intimidating.
5. Preference Priority
What happens when your child shows signs that they are just not interested? Don’t worry. Your efforts aren’t futile and your kid won’t fail elementary school because they might hate reading. Starting reading habits young gives you the chance to explore what interests them. If they don’t like a book you are reading, don’t force it. If your child really likes a book and wants to read that same story over and over, do that. Go with what works. A certain time of day, a certain place, or a specific book can be huge in building that foundation for success when they get into those early reading years!
Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Your child’s preschool teachers will also be helping them learn successful preschool reading skills. Right now, your efforts are a great way to help form a positive foundation that will set your preschooler up for success in reading. Focus on making reading a positive, fun experience instead of a chore – for you and your child.