How to Get Preschoolers Excited About Reading
You are your child’s first teacher. That’s why it’s important that you show them how much fun reading can be and prepare them for learning to read. Playing games, singing songs, having conversations, and reading aloud are all great ways to give children the literacy skills they need to enter school. These activities help children connect the words they hear with the words they see—the first step to becoming a strong reader.
The tips and strategies in this Reading Is Fundamental guide will help you turn everyday activities into enjoyable learning experiences.
Build on What They Know
Preschoolers already know a lot about language. They know people take turns when talking to each other. They understand letters have meaning and can identify some letters of the alphabet. They even memorize favorite stories and “pretend read” as they turn the pages. Be sure to give your preschooler opportunities to practice what they know and explore print in the world around them.
Talk to Your Children
Talking to your children throughout the day is one of the most important things you can do to prepare them for reading. Your conversations will teach them new words and help them learn to talk and listen to others. To make sure your children get the most from your conversations:
- Use words you would use with adults such as cut, and avoid baby talk words such as boo-boo.
- Ask open-ended questions such as, “Why do you think that happened?”
- Be a patient listener. Letting them complete their thoughts will help build their confidence and improve their ability to express themselves.
Research shows that reading aloud is the best way to give children the tools they’ll need to become good readers, listeners, and students. Reading together is also a special time for you to bond with your children. Let them snuggle
next to you as you share stories, laugh at silly characters, and root for heroes. Here’s how you can make the most out of reading aloud.
- Read slowly, with expression. Try using different voices for different characters.
- Follow words with your finger as you read. Your children will see that words are read from left to right.
- Point to pictures and say the names of objects and colors. Let children repeat the names.
- Talk about the book as you read. Ask children to describe pictures, repeat phrases used in the story, and predict what will happen next.
- Remember to have fun! The more fun children have reading aloud, the more they will love books and want to read them.
Quick Tip: Make bath time reading time. Take advantage of this relaxing time by letting children read waterproof books, or by reading them a book as they bathe.
Choosing Books for Preschoolers
When choosing good books for preschoolers look for:
- Illustrations and photos that are clear, colorful, and engaging.
- Simple, fun plots. The action should move quickly so each book can be finished in one sitting.
- Lively rhymes and repetition that children can repeat and remember.
- Stories about everyday events, fears, or challenges such as a new baby in the family.
- Stories that review basic concepts, such as letters, numbers, shapes, and colors.
- Characters their age or slightly older.
- Playful animals will also hold their attention.
Quick Tip: Take books everywhere (the car, bus,doctor’s office), and make the most of every minute.
Reprinted with the permission of Reading is Fundamental, Inc. ©2007 Reading Is Fundamental, Inc.
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