Six Pre-Reading Skills
These are skills that children should have to learn to read and write. Not to worry, they are easy to help your child with!
- Be interested in and enjoy the books you read aloud to children. What parents and caregivers can do: Read books you enjoy. Use your voice for emphasis, make sounds, and read with enthusiasm.
- Know many words—the names of things, concepts, emotions, etc. What parents and caregivers can do: Talk and read to your child and expand their world.
- Understand how books and writing work—that the words we speak are also the words on the book’s pages that tell the story. What parents and caregivers can do: Show your child the book’s name and author, how you turn the pages from left to right, and how to follow the words on a page as you read them. Point your finger to the corresponding word when reading.
- Be able to describe things and events, and to tell stories What parents and caregivers can do: Let your child help tell the story by repeating important phrases, and asking them questions about the story, like: “What do you think will come next?”
- Be able to hear and play with the smaller sounds in words. What parents and caregivers can do: Say and read rhymes and books with rhyming sounds. Ask your child, “What other words rhyme with (example: bear)?”
- Knowing the letters of the alphabet – that they are different from each other and that each letter has a name and relates to a specific sound What parents and caregivers can do: Sing the “ABC” or “B-I-N-G-O ” songs, read an alphabet book, look for letters in your daily life – signs, food cartons, etc.
Also, don’t forget to put age appropriate books where your child can use them independently - on a low bookshelf or basket in the living room, etc. At first you may need to teach your child how to handle books, but soon they will easily use them on their own.
Books are always the best birthday gift. Use one of our booklists for babies, toddlers and preschoolers to guide purchases by relatives and friends.
You will find many more ideas and tips for fostering your child’s literacy development from Reading Is Fundamental. Articles touch on important topics like "Reading Aloud," "Choosing Good Books," and "Literacy Rich Environments."