How to Begin Teaching Early Reading Skills – Homeschooling Preschool
Are you feeling stressed and overwhelmed at the thought of distance learning and tackling homeschooling during these uncertain times? No one knows what the future holds. But one thing is for sure, it will be different, and it will be hard to change. At the same time, I believe that you can do it. You are stronger than you know. When our children are young, we are confident in our teaching abilities. We teach them everything there is to know about the world around them. We teach them to talk, walk, interact with others, how to put on their clothes. We teach them their colors and animal sounds. So much learning takes place in the first year alone. Yet, at some point we decide we are no longer adequate. But I’m here to tell you…
You are enough! You have knowledge to share and skills to teach! You’ve got this!
The beautiful thing about kids is that they are naturally programmed to learn! They are curious explorers wanting to know everything about the world around them. We need to nurture that curiosity, to create an environment where learning is fun and where we are constantly learning together with our children.
, teaching a child to read?! It sounds daunting, doesn’t it? Where do you begin? Well thankfully, you start with the simplest of concepts.
Teach your child that reading is IMPORTANT and PRINT HAS MEANING.
Read books together. Model reading your own books. Read labels. Read directions. Read recipes. Make grocery lists. Read menus. Write special events on a big calendar. Point to the words when you read them. When you do these things, it will show your child that reading is important and they will want to know what the secret messages are. For a long time, my daughter would be continually asking, “what does that say?” She was naturally curious to find out the meaning of print so she could better understand her world.
Teaching kids that reading is important
, and the idea that print has meaning , are the first steps to sparking their curiosity. Where there is curiosity there will be motivation.
The next step is teaching your child the basics: how to hold a book, which way to turn the pages, directionality (reading left to right), how to label the front and back of a book. The good news? Every time you sit down and read with a child you are building their basic understanding of how books work. You’re already doing these things simply by modeling and reading with your child. You are doing this naturally without even thinking about it. Good job you!
Now that you know and can label these things as skills to teach, you can be more intentional about supporting your child learning these concepts when you read with them at home.
Label the parts of the book when you read. Show them the front of the book and label it. You can say things like, “Oh yes, I see that picture on the front of the book! Is there anything on the back?”
Use your finger to follow along with the words you’re reading from time to time, like the bouncing ball on a sing along video. This teaches your child not only that you’re reading the words and not the pictures of the story, but also models directionality. Not all languages are read from left to write. This is an important concept to master when learning to read.
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Point out parts of the picture you want your child to notice. This is a practice that will later develop into the skill of using picture clues to figure out words you don’t know as you learn to read. You can make it a game in certain books like We’re Going On a Bear Hunt to find the dog or the baby on every page or in the Usborn Book Series that includes That’s Not My Elephant there’s a mouse to find on every page. In other books there can be picture clues to notice that help you to predict what is coming next in the story. In the book Silly Sally, there is an animal sort of hiding in the background along the path she’s traveling that tells you what’s coming next. It’s fun to say “Oooo who do you think she’ll see next?” and point to the picture. After your child responds, you say “Let’s see!” and continue reading. This noticing helps your child start to practice making predictions.
When my daughter points out something in a picture, I say, “Wow great noticing!” Developing the skill of observation will help your child immensely as they learn to read.
When you sit and read with your child, you are teaching them another huge lesson about reading: reading is FUN and reading helps you to learn! Reading helps you make sense of the world around you.
If your child doesn’t learn this concept, they will lack motivation to learn to read.
So, be silly! Do hand motions! Make funny voices! Cuddle when you read together and read books over and over to them.
Have you ever noticed children tend to enjoy books being read to them over and over and over… and over again? Repetition is extremely beneficial, even if it can get a bit boring as the adult. Repetition helps build neural pathways in your child’s brain.
Eventually your child will memorize favorite books and “read” or recite them all by themselves! Learning to read is all about building connections. There are lots of skills to master and put together as a child learns to read! But don’t worry you’ve got this and your child will learn to read too when they are ready. Just start at the start and build up from there and follow your child’s lead and interests. Notice things about print with your child and be excited about the tiniest of break throughs. You’ll get there!
Lastly, pick GOOD BOOKS!
If you don’t want to read a book over and over, it shouldn’t be in your collection! Pick books that you love. Pick books that are interactive. Pick books with real pictures. Pick books with beautiful illustrations. Pick books that teach about important things like colors and emotions and diversity! Picking books can be daunting, honestly. There are so many children’s books out there. It can be hard to know which are worth your investment. I made an entire post devoted to which books to choose when building your home library. Check it out HERE. It will definitely help you find some great ways to build your library and pick your books in the future.
You are off to a great start! While the idea of teaching your child to read can sound intimidating, you can do it. Don’t be scared. You are enough! With the right resources and knowledge, you can do anything. Believe in yourself!
You CAN teach your child to read!
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