Every parent is thrilled when they see their children begin to read. As adults, we understand that reading is the gateway to new worlds and adventures, and we naturally want our children to be able to experience that. However, helping your preschool child read can be a stressful situation for both parent and child if not approached in an easygoing, fun, manner.
Many parents don’t realize that the first step to reading is simply print awareness. In early childhood education, this is becoming familiar with the parts of a book. Having your preschooler pick out books, turn them right side up, point to the title while you read it, and help you point from left to right as you read to him or her are the beginning steps of becoming familiar with the act of reading.
Another way to involve your preschool children in reading is to help them interact with the story. Ask them to predict what they think will happen based on the illustration or the title. Have them summarize the story as they go along. When common words show up, help them sound out the word or point out what letter begins the word. The same thing can be done for important characters’ names. Initial sounds are often the first a child learns to read, so point out as many as possible.
It is important to remember, however, that many children don’t fully learn to read until kindergarten or first grade, and that early childhood education experts agree that this is totally normal. Parents of preschoolers should concentrate on make reading a fun activity, whether it be bedtime stories or signs on the road. If you treat this as the adventure that it is, your children will pick up on your excitement and want to learn to read.