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Preparing Your Preschooler to Read

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By Barbara Graber, M.A.

Communicating on Paper

Children progress from scribbling and drawing, to trying to form letters, to finally writing real letters and words. When your child asks you to "read" her scribbles, you know she's aware that speech is represented by symbols (letters of the alphabet). Writing and drawing activities also help her develop fine motor control, as well as imagination and creativity.

Here are some tips for expressing ideas on paper:

  • Have writing and drawing materials easily accessible. Include paper in different shapes, colors, and sizes; markers, crayons, pencils; paste, tape, glue, safety scissors. Keep supplies in a special box or place that belongs to her.
  • Give your child old magazines and pictures to cut and paste so she can create books on different themes - e.g., alphabet, colors, animals, toys, food, shapes, numbers.
  • Let your preschooler make her own book by using photos or drawings and dictating captions for you to write under each picture.
  • Help her write/draw greeting cards to send to friends and family on special occasions.
  • When your preschooler is able to match sound segments to print, encourage her to experiment with putting sounds together to make words. Invented spelling is one step on the way to becoming a reader.

Using the Internet

There are many other suggestions to help you as a parent build on your child's current skills. Remember the Internet is a source of free games and informal activities to help your preschooler develop emerging reading skills.

Comments from readers

"Thank you for this column,this will ensure the improvement of pupils achievement in all subject areas'"
" Our granddaughter is in mainstream preschool she will soon be 5 years old.She is Vision impaired and must learn Braille to read and write. do you have any suggestions for us to help her? "