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By Diana Townsend-Butterworth
The alphabet: Alphabet books and puzzles help children learn the relationship between sounds and letters and give them practice recognizing and distinguishing letters.
Writing and invented spelling: Writing is a key part of early reading. Children learn to read by writing, says Cullinan. They practice using the symbols they associate with sounds as they write using "invented spelling." At preschool, your child will be encouraged to write captions for his pictures, to write stories about what he's drawn, and to tell stories based on his experiences and imaginations.
Dramatic play: Children exercise their imaginations, practice their communication skills, and learn the subtleties of spoken language in dramatic play and dress-up games.
Computers: A computer can be an important tool for children in learning to write. Because their small motor control is still developing, preschoolers often find it easier to find the letters they are looking for on the keyboard than to use a pencil to form them. The teacher will help them search for letters in the beginning and encourage them to read the words they are writing and then print them out.
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