Every child learns to read at their own pace. There is, therefore, no need to give your child pressure or get worried if they happen to be slow readers. However, there are pre-reading skills that parents can use to know what areas of a kid’s life require attention for smooth reading in the future.
Statistics Brain showed that reading is not popular among many people.
In fact, 50% of US grownups cannot read a grade 8 book.
42% of college graduates never read any book after school.
70% of adults have not been in a bookstore for the past five years.
Now we are not saying that people don’t read completely because it is impossible not to read.We read every day; while shopping, while driving and on our phones.
Unfortunately, the examples aren’t substantive.
The above statistics show that despite reading being a major part of academics, it has been neglected. If adults are not reading, it is possible that kids may not be reading too.
However, the fact that you are here shows that you are among the few people who value reading, or at least, you want your child to be a vivid reader.
What are Pre-reading Skills?
Pre-reading is simply what the children need to know before they begin their learning reading journey. The skills are essential in reducing the stress and frustration that comes with the learning process when it comes to formal education.
As a parent, teaching your kids about pre-reading skills is among the best gifts you will ever give them in life.
It’s such a rewarding thing, and yet it is easier than you would ever imagine.
The Six Pre-Reading Skills Every Toddler Should Know
There are six pre-reading skills that toddlers learn before they join kindergarten or during their schooling.
When these skills are learned and mastered, it makes the learning process of reading very easy. In fact, they are only four; the first two are a bonus that fit in the other four categories.
An article by Concordia University-Portland shows that illiteracy levels are staggering, and we need to teach pre-reading skills to boost the reading skills in the nation.
Pre-reading Skill 1: Print Motivation
Print motivation means showing interest and being excited about reading books. You can achieve this by reading in the presence of your kids.
Tips to Encourage Print Motivation
- Whether it is an email, text, grocery list, or recipe you are reading, show the toddler you are enjoying reading it.
- Create time and read something with your child every day
- When reading, use a cheerful but natural voice
- Go to the library with your kid and give them the freedom to choose their books
- Learn the interests of your kids and help them choose books based on what they love
Pre-reading Skill 2: Narrative Skills
Having narrative skills is the ability to describe things and retell how an event unfolded. For a toddler, this may mean repeating nouns found in pictures.
Here are Ways to Encourage Narrative Skills Development
- Have pretended play sessions with your child
- Come up with stories and tell your toddler
- Tell your child to narrate a story even if it is from a book
- While reading books, ask them open-ended questions
- Choose repetitive books for your child (this works for younger kids)
Pre-reading Skill 3: Print Awareness
Printing awareness is seeing print, and understanding it has a function. This involves understanding how to hold a book, how to turn pages one by one, and how to do it correctly.
Ways to Increase Print Awareness Skills
- Let your child handle books
- Show them how to hold books and how to turn the pages correctly
- Point words in the books as they read
- Show them familiar words in books. This could be their names or names of familiar places.
Pre-reading Skill 4: Vocabulary
This involves knowing the names of objects and connecting them to ideas, feelings and objects. This is also referred to as a child’s oral language skills.
What is important here is creating that connection. You do not have to use flashcard programs to achieve this.
Here are Tips for Growing your Pre-schooler’s Vocabulary:
- Read factual books with pictures
- Read picture books
- Use expansive vocabulary when talking to your child; whenever you use a difficult/new word explain the meaning to them
- When you come along a new vocabulary when reading, remember to explain it
- Tell your kid to describe the toys as you help them get the right words to use
Pre-reading Skill 5: Phonological awareness
This involves being able to recognize that words are made by small sounds and playing with those sounds.
Methods to Encourage Phonological Awareness
- Allow and encourage your toddler to say silly things
- Be creative and come up with word riddles for your kid to solve
- Challenge your preschooler to change the first sounds in a word for fun. For example, from the word CAT, they could say FAT, CAP, or SAT.
- Sing and teach your tot interesting kid songs
Pre-reading Skill 6: Letter Knowledge
This is understanding that every letter is different from the other, and it has its name and sound. This, therefore, involves the child understanding the letters and sounds.
Ways to Encourage Letter Knowledge
- Teach your tot how to sing the alphabet song
- Teach them how to recognize names
- Take time to read the alphabet books together
- Invite your tot to describe the shape of each letter
- Point out familiar letters in your daily activities
One Final Note
It is good to let your child grow and develop with no pressure to avoid stress. However, taking at least 15 minutes every day for the pre-reading activity or less depending on the concentration of your child can be very helpful.
Also, kids do not learn reading on their own. They require help, and the above program will enhance your tot’s ability to read by understanding letters, new vocabulary, and narrative skills as you boost their interest and love in books.
Your child is full of greatness, be their coach, and help them tap it!