How Can Parents Help Your Child to Build Pre-Reading Skills?

Just like any learning process, learning to read has a sequence while each child is different, most children can be taught to read following the sequence of acquiring reading skills. It is important to recognize each of the different stages of reading your child goes through, so that parents can help him or her effectively. Here we would like to discuss the first stage of reading, one often not associated with the act of reading itself, but it is vital in teaching children reading skills needed in further stages. It is considered as a pre-reading stage. Help your child build Pre-Reading Skill.

Research shows that children who develop phonemic awareness and letter-sound knowledge early on are more likely to be strong, successful readers. Children can build these skills by reading aloud, practicing nursery rhymes, and playing letter and word games. Based on an understanding of phonemic awareness and basic print concepts, children are ready to learn phonics and to start understand words.

Pre-reading skills are the skills children need before they can learn to read. By talking and reading to your child, parents will help your child to develop these essential skills. It is recommended to parents to know these pre-reading skills, so that you can make the best use of your child’s natural inquisitiveness during the pre-school years.

Ways to Build Pre-Reading Skills

Encouragement and exposure to learning experiences will help your child to develop the skills needed to read and write. Here are some tips helping your child build pre-reading skills.

Matching skills
When we read, part of what we do involves matching. Children learn to match shapes, colors, patterns, letters and, finally, words. Children build matching skills by playing blocks, coloring, practicing nursery rhymes and playing sound and word games etc. This is a time to get down on the floor with your child and play act, build blocks, fit shapes together, draw and paint, play with balls and many other activities that delight and excite your child. While these activities are not immediately related to reading, they are vital in teaching your child skills for life, not just in preparation for reading.

Phonemic awareness
Phonemic awareness deals with the structure of sounds and words, by understanding it, children know that words are made up of sounds which can be assembled in different ways to make different words. Once your child has phonemic awareness, he or she is aware that sounds are like building blocks that can be used to build all the different words. Research shows that children who developed Phonemic Awareness have a head start in learning to read and, even more to spell.

Children build phonemic awareness and other pre-reading skills by practicing nursery rhymes and playing sound and word games. Common exercises to develop phonemic awareness include games with rhymed words, games based on recognizing initial consonance.
Milestones:

  • Your child can name several words that begin with the same sound such as boy, bell, and bat
  • Your child can replace one sound with another; for example, replace the first sound in pig with “d” to make dig.

Letter skills
In terms of letters, children need to learn what sounds the letters can make. The more letters your child is able to instantly recognize and name by the time he or she starts kindergarten, the quicker he or she will be able to focus his or her attention on other tasks such as the sounds associated with each letter. It is recommended for your child to begin learning the letters in his or her name.
Milestones:

Concepts of print
It is very important for your child to know that we read words, not pictures, and that the words we see in print are related to the words we speak and hear. Your child also needs to learn following print and turning the pages in the right way. Asking your child questions, for example,”Where are the words?” to help him or her gain Print Knowledge. Give your child lots of chances to explore books on his or her own and read together every day.
Milestones:

  • Your child can recognize print in everyday life, such as on cereal boxes, street signs
  • Your child know you can use print for many different purposes, from writing letters to grocery lists
  • Your child can hold a book, turn the pages, and pretend to read
  • Your child can follow the series of events in some stories
  • Your child can ask questions and make comments that show he or she understands what you read to him or her

Direction
In English, print goes from left to right, in order to know that, children need to practice it, especially left-handed children.

Language skills
The more experience children have of language, the more easily they will learn to read. Your child needs to hear and join in conversations with adults and children, and listen to stories and poetry of all sorts. You can help your child make the connection between letters and sounds through conversation, rhyming, word games, and other activities.

Beginning Writing
Since reading and writing have very close relationship, they are best taught together. For beginners, pencil control is important. Scribbling is your child’s first effort to use print in a meaningful way. Playing with blocks, coloring and drawing also help your child build fine motor skills, which are necessary for writing.

Using workbooks, games, and structured computer programs
All these tools can help teaching and reinforcing your child’s pre-reading skills. Parents help in this process by providing high-quality educational materials, establishing a pattern of daily reading, and creating a rich language environment. Some of the best books to start with for your young child in this stage are wordless picture books. Take advantage of your child’s questions if he or she has, because your child is establishing a naming and identifying skill needed in early reading.

Long before children can read books they need to master key skills. Pre-reading stage is the one to prepare children’s reading readiness. During this time parents can help your child build Pre-Reading Skill, establish good habits and routines, such as story time before bed, which can help in later years when the habit of independent reading is establishing. The focus should be on enjoyment and togetherness at this stage. Try to make books a big part of fun activities and grow your child’s love of reading, which benefits his or her next learning stages to read and eventually his or her whole life.

To learn more parenting skills, please refer to great parenting books.

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