Support Preschool Readers

Support Preschool Readers

While most pre-school children are not yet reading and writing, they are developing very important pre-reading skills that will influence their literacy learning as they begin school.

Literacy Development before the School Years

Background Information

Did you know that even before kids start reading and writing, they’re already gearing up for it? It’s all about those pre-reading skills, especially something called phonological awareness. When children develop this skill, they are forming the understanding that words are made up of different sounds.

So, how do kids get this skill? Well, it’s a bit like a fun game for them. Things like rhyming, making up silly words, or even noticing when words start with the same sound (like “big bear” or “silly snake”) all help. And guess what? None of these activities involve actual reading yet! It’s all about getting used to sounds and how they work.

You might notice your little ones pretending to write, especially if they see you writing often. Writing is a complex skill that involves using many muscles in their hands and arms. Even sitting up straight plays a part! Playtime helps them build these muscles and coordination, getting them ready for writing later on. As they get older, they’ll start copying and tracing things, which will help them get the hang of writing letters and eventually words. Celebrate this play with your child, and join in on the scribbling!

While these skills are incredibly important for future learning, the good news is that practicing and growing can be very fun! Check out a few of the options below to find something that may work for your family. 

Activities to Try

Fill in The Blank 

If you’ve read a rhyming picture book so many times that your child knows it by heart, read it aloud, leaving the last word unsaid so your child can fill in the blank. If this is too advanced for them, instead emphasize rhyming words by using an extra-dramatic voice on the relevant rhyming words.

Listen to silly songs on a roadtrip

Songs are an excellent way to develop phonological awareness. Add this playlist to the rotation and sing along! The songs on this playlist use word play to emphasize rhyme and alliteration, singing along will develop those all-important pre-reading skills!

Sound scavenger hunt

Choose a letter sound, then have your child find things around your house that start with the same sound. “Can you find something in our house that starts with the letter “p” pppppp sound? Picture, pencil, pear”

Encourage Fine Motor Play

Playing with blocks, playdough, bingo daubers, or finger paint strengthens your child’s hand-eye coordination and muscle control. As you play, talk to them and use new or interesting words to describe what you are doing. 

Books to Check Out!

While your child may still be years away from reading independently, having a love of reading can begin when they are young. Reading to very young children influences their language and vocabulary development, both important to their eventual literacy growth. 

While you read to your child, sit close so that you are both looking at the book. Point out funny or interesting pictures and words, wonder aloud what might happen next, and ask your child to predict what happens next, or to fill in the last word of the sentence.

Resources for further information