I shared a few days ago some simple tips for getting your preschooler ready to read (if you missed it, check out Reading with Preschoolers: Part 1). Today, I have just a few more ideas!
4) Get a library card!
Not only can you find an amazing variety of books at the library, you can also take advantage of story times, activities, and whatever else your library offers! Visits to the library give your child a chance to see that reading is important — not just to you — but to many others, as well.
Sometimes it can be overwhelming to figure out what books to check-out. Your librarian is very knowledgeable in this area, so make sure to utilize his/her help (we love you, Mrs. Jo)! I have also found these books helpful in selecting classics and picture books to encourage a love of literature:
Read for the Heart: Whole Books for WholeHearted Families: This is the newest book on my shelf, and I cannot say enough about it! Not only does it share lists of books to read with your child — it shares why and how you should read to your child. Broken down into several categories, this book will guide you to noble, moral, and wonderfully written books based on age level. Truly, you should definitely consider this book if you are overwhelmed by the choices out there or just want to make sure your child’s reading material is more than “twaddle”! It will inspire you!
Honey for a Child’s Heart by Gladys Hunt: This book is also one of my go-to books when I’m wondering what we should check-out from the library next! This book is broken down into a few more categories, and I especially appreciate the section for beginning readers.
5) Teach lower-case letters first.
When you begin to do activities or read picture books about the alphabet, consider teaching lower-case letters first. You will encounter a much higher percentage of lower-case letters than capitals in your reading!
While it’s great that your child can sing the alphabet song, it’s not really that helpful!! Let me clarify that a little bit more: Eventually your child will need to know the names of the letters, but it is much more helpful to teach letter SOUNDS first. When your child sees a B, you want him to say “Hey, look, a /b/” (letter sound) instead of “That’s a b” (letter name).
Some children are able to memorize the name and sound at the same time, but it is too much information for others! It may feel a little strange at first to read through your favorite alphabet book identifying each letter by sound, but I believe it makes so much more sense!
Once your child knows her letter sounds, I recommend the book Mommy, Teach Me to Read: A Complete and Easy-to-Use Home Reading Program.
7) Don’t push too hard.
Especially with your first child, you probably have a tendency too push a little more (I’m guilty sometimes!), but your child doesn’t have to read by the time he is three….or four…or five..or even six. Each little one has his own time table. My oldest knew her letter sounds when she was four, but I didn’t push her to start to read. We started some phonics and easy readers when she was five, and she was reading about grade level. She turned six and in a span of about two months, she went from reading on a first grade level to a fifth grade level.
Why am I telling you this? I want you to see that your child doesn’t have to read when they are three! Don’t get hung up on what the other kids your child’s age are doing. Trust yourself a little bit more — you know your child! Sure, if they show readiness signs, I’m all for it. But if not, just let them play — and build — and sing — and play some more!!
While I’m grateful that my daughter is reading well, it actually causes some trouble! There are many times when I would be quite happy if she wasn’t reading!! For instance, public bathroom walls cause a lot of discussion!! Picking out books that are challenging for her reading level but appropriate for her age and emotional development is tough. So, I’m just cautioning you to consider these things — I certainly didn’t!
Though these tips may seem basic, I hope they have inspired you and will help you in your journey to raise a reader!! I truly believe you can teach your child to read!