Preschool Development: Reading Readiness Skills

Preschool development: Teach your child left to right tracking, hand eye coordination, and other reading readiness skills.

Although you do not want to push your preschooler too hard, there are many fun activities that you can engage in that will provide your child with reading readiness skills. You certainly will want to encourage a reading-positive attitude in your child. One of the best ways to do this is to show your child that you enjoy reading to him/her and on your own. Also, try to model different types of reading, so that your child realizes that there are many reasons for reading. Your child will also need to know that there are different types of reading. Sometimes we read for information. Sometimes we read for pleasure. Sometimes we just scan an article or recipe for a few quick facts.

Reading requires the ability to track words and letters from left to right. Your child will not need special training to do learn how to do this. The easiest way to encourage development of this skill is to place your finger beneath each word that you are reading aloud in your child's picture books. Have your child follow along with his/her eyes as you are reading. You can also let your child put his/her finger on the words as you read them.

Your child will also need hand eye coordination. This can be very simple and very fun to encourage in your child. Play catch! It's that simple. Your child will need this skill to hold a book, read the words, and turn the pages. So, allow your child to handle books. Encourage your child to point to objects in the books and identify them. Let your child turn the pages of the book that you are reading to him/her.

Tell your child the story of his/her life. Children never tire of hearing about themselves. This will teach your child the elements of a story very subtly. The beginning is when your child was born or, perhaps conceived, depending upon how you tell the tale. The problem of the story may be when your child entered the terrible twos. The story resolution may be when he/she turned three and the end will be the last event in your tale. Use these types of words when telling your child the story. For example, you may say that Billy was born on June 10, 1991. He was a happy baby. The problems started when he turned two. (Use your own favorite anecdote here.) The problem seemed to solve itself when he turned three. All of a sudden, Billy was a happy, helpful preschooler! Now, Billy is four. This is where our story ends, until tomorrow. What new adventures will Billy have? Well, that's a story that is yet to come!

Teach your child the alphabet. Be sure to teach him/her the sounds of the letters. Teach your child how to rhyme, as well. Children learn to rhyme very quickly and love to make up nonsense rhymes. Encourage your child to do so.

Visit your library. Take your child to story hours. He/she will need to develop listening skills and story hour is a great place to practice. Most public libraries have a story hour for young children. Today, many bookstores do, as well.

Let your child "read" his/her favorite story to you. Don't help your child unless he/she asks you to help. You may be surprised at how well your child has memorized a favorite book!

Buy your child a few storybooks that have tapes that accompany them. Purchase software that caters to the promotion of reading readiness skills. Use these tools with your child.

Read together at least once a day! Your child will quickly develop the necessary reading readiness skills to succeed at school and in life.

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