Tips for Reading to Your Pre-Kindergartener

Children hear and use the sounds of language before they even notice the printed words on a page. Reading books out loud to your child stimulates his imagination and expands his understanding of the world. It helps him develop the language and listening skills he will need to succeed once he enters Kindergarten. When regular reading becomes a part of your child's life, learning to read when he enters kindergarten will feel natural and easy to him. Here are a few tips to prepare your child for the coming school years.

Tips for picking books:

  • Let your child choose the books to read. This will encourage your child to take an active part in the reading process and will make certain the subject matter and stories will always be of interest to your child. Any reading is good reading- age-appropriate comic books included!
  • Choose books with a more complex storyline, but also continue to read books that your child enjoys and is familiar with.

Tips for reading to your preschooler:

  • Indulge your child and read the same book multiple times. Hearing a book repeated helps your child become more familiar with the language and the story. This encourages long-term memory vocabulary retention and will make your child an expert on the topic!
  • As you read, pause in places to allow your child to complete a rhyme or repeat a phrase or sentence.
  • Point to words as you read them and encourage your child to repeat them after you.
  • Ask simple questions about the story, giving your child time to answer, "Where are they going?" and "How do you think she feels?"
  • Talk about the book and provide context and background knowledge.
  • As your child begins to recognize some of the letters, challenge him to find a particular letter on a page.
  • Encourage your child to "read" with you from memory. This helps her model reading behavior.
  • Amp up your vocabulary. At this stage children love to mimic what they hear around them, this includes more advanced vocabulary. They'll learn new words from the context. "That is magnificent!"

Tips for reading time:

  • Set aside 'special time' for reading with your child: This will encourage your child to develop a reading routine that will make reading part of his/her daily life. Read to your child everyday, if you can!
  • Make books a part of your daily routine. Your child will come to expect and look forward to this time. Start with a book or two at bedtime and add books as your child's attention span increases.
  • Create a 'Reading Space' in your home. A comfortable chair, a library of fun and interesting books, a fuzzy rug, anything that makes your child feel comfortable and ready to learn. Your child will know that entering this 'Reading Space' signals a learning mind set.


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