Every child learns at a different pace, and learning how to read is as unpredictable as it is important. But if you want to help your child prepare for this milestone – and continue to grow as a new reader – you can help by building some early literary skills now. After all, reading and understanding text aren’t the only skills involved in reading, and they’re not the only ways for a child to experience words and books. Pre-reading skills range from paying attention during reading time to identifying letters and numbers, and all of them help us lay an important foundation for literacy.
Here are a few early childhood literacy skills your preschooler can use before they start reading. Grab your favorite book and get started today!
Looking at Pictures & Identifying ItemsReading comprehension skills are important because kids must learn to pay attention to the details and meaning of a story. Luckily, this skill can be sharpened without even using words. Select books with colorful, clear illustrations on every page and help your child identify the most important elements. For example, your child may start by distinguishing between different colors and animals, then progress to picking out specific characters, settings, and other details.
Identifying Letters, Numbers, & Punctuation MarksLong before kids learn how to interpret letters and words, they can tell different shapes and sizes apart. Now is a great time to start focusing on the differences between different letters and numbers, including their shape, size, and name. Start by reading alphabet books that name and describe each letter, getting your child familiar with the whole alphabet. As they learn more about the alphabet, pause during story time and ask them to identify random letters or point out the differences between capital and lower-case letters on the page.
Predicting Patterns & PlotsAs you read aloud to your child, engage them in the action of the plot and encourage them to try predicting what will happen next. This helps them pay attention to plots and patterns, and it also inspires creativity and problem-solving skills by allowing them to imagine the next page. This can be as simple as pausing during story time and asking what one character should say to the next, or as complex as drawing
Telling Stories ThemselvesUltimately, reading is all about following narratives. Because strong narrative skills are helpful as your child learns to read, consider involving them in the storytelling process. After reading a book together, ask them to retell the story – or tell a story about something that happened to them. Reading repetitive books is a great starting point, because kids can rely on a predictable pattern to help them learn and retell a story. Even playing make-believe is a great way to build storytelling skills, so give your kids an opportunity to get creative.
At Montessori Children’s House, we encourage our students to embrace and enjoy reading at their own pace. Contact us to learn more about our preschool programs and see how Montessori education teaches students new skills that set the foundation for lifelong learning.