Teaching Reading to Preschoolers: Fun Strategies for Parents and Teachers

Are you a preschool teacher, or do you have a preschool-age child of your own? If you are in either situation, you probably are already aware how important reading is to child development. Keep reading for a few tips on teaching reading to preschoolers.

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Tips for Teaching Reading to Preschool Children

Developing Pre-Literacy Skills

Preschool is the time for children to develop their pre-literacy skills, which will prepare them for successful reading in the long term. While it's important to read aloud to preschool kids, you should also show them how writing is read from left to right and teach them about the different parts of a book. For example, you can give your child or students a book and ask them to find the front page, back cover and text. When you're reading, follow the words with your finger so preschoolers learn that the words on a page represent meaning.

Phonemic Awareness

The development of a preschooler's phonemic awareness can be integral to developing his or her skills. Phonemic awareness is the understanding that words are made up of sounds, and that words can be broken down into their component sounds. For example, the word 'rat' has three phonemes. These phonemes are the sounds made by 'r', 'a' and 't'.

Without showing your child or your students any writing, ask them to break words into phonemes. Then, ask them to say words with a phoneme missing. For example, if you take away the first phoneme in 'rat', you get 'at'.

A common way for children to practice this skill is to use colored blocks to represent phonemes. In this exercise, a green block can represent the sound made by the letter 'r' and a blue block can represent the sound made by 'a'. Give your child or students a chance to manipulate the blocks and try out different sound combinations.

Learning About Letters

After preschoolers have developed a strong phonemic awareness, you can show them how letters represent sounds. Replace the blocks from the above activity with letters and let your child or students make words. At this point, it's okay for the words to be nonsensical because the main focus of this activity is to get children accustomed to stringing together sounds.

Helpful Reading Resources for Kids

There's a plethora of helpful reading resources available for preschoolers. It's likely that your local library or an education center in your area will have reading or story time for preschoolers. Many websites offer fun reading games and activities for preschoolers, often at no cost. If you feel that your child's struggling a bit, you can always take him or her to a reading specialist or hire a tutor.

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