Ready for Reading
The Diary of a First Grade Teacher

Ready for reading? Can you get ready for that?

Yes, your child should be ready for reading. Exactly what does that mean? At what age or stage is that supposed to happen? Four-years-old? Five? Six?

You may be surprised to learn that readiness starts long before kindergarten and first grade. Experts in child development have long known that language and literacy skills begin at birth.

Your child’s brain grows the fastest during the first three years of life ... So the best thing you can do to make sure your child is ready for reading is to provide plenty of life experiences that will help in the development of his or her pre-reading skills.

Let’s look at some of the pre-reading skills …

Pre-reading Skills

The following list contains some examples of pre-reading skills:

  • Matching printed items (such as simple drawings) that are identical
  • Recognizing simple shapes
  • Sorting (different kinds of beans, for example) into groups
  • Recognizing simple patterns
  • Sequencing simple events

Things You Can Do for a Powerful Impact

What your child learns long before he or she enters school plays a major role in the likelihood of their reading success. But don’t worry ... You don't have to "teach" your child to read.

They’ll learn how to do that in school. For right now though, there are many simple things you can do to send them on the road to reading success.

Pre-reading Strategies

The following simple strategies are suggestions that can make a significant difference in helping your child become a good reader:

First, always provide verbally stimulating real-life experiences for them. And here’s how ...

  • Without a doubt, one of the best things you can do is read with your child every day.
  • Start with picture books. Illustrations are mind-stimulating.
  • By reading aloud and enjoying it, you will be promoting a positive attitude toward reading – something that even the very youngest child can sense.
  • Provide plenty of age-appropriate books and print materials.
  • Choose books that are about the things they most enjoy in life.
  • Have you noticed how a child wants to read the same book over and over again? That’s fine! In fact, this is how they learn.
  • Read books that have large print ... The younger the child, the larger the print.
  • As you read, point to each word. Show that the word you say is the word they see.
  • Stress the left-to-right progression on each page, as well as the top-to-bottom progression of reading on every page.
  • Have fun with books that contain repetition. Encourage your child to join in when you’re repeating the words.
  • Choose stories from the same word families … These are stories with simple rhyming words, such as hat, cat, fat, etc. – for example.
  • Reading is understanding what is read! Be sure to discuss new words. Your child will enjoy the story much better whenever he or she understands the vocabulary or the concept.
  • Later, choose a variety of books to read from, including fiction and nonfiction. The more of a variety of experiences you can give your child, the more you are making sure they are ready for reading.

Reading Success

Learning to read is so important. It is the foundation for success in every school subject!

And you can make a major contribution to your child’s reading success by helping develop their pre-reading skills ... I hope you use some of the simple strategies given here to help make sure they are ready for reading.

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