Reading has become one of the most-bragged about milestones for parents (admit it!) and understandably so. It is an amazing feeling when we see our tiny human being reading at an early age. But reading is more than memorizing the ABCs or sight words (commonly used words that young children are encouraged to memorize as a whole by sight). In fact, she needs master the following pre-reading skills before you attempt to teach your little one how to read. Yes, none involves reading yet but it entails play — the best way they learn.
A child needs to hold a book and flip its pages to start learning how to read. Get a move on your little one's motor skills by letting them grasp their rattles and toys. When you read to her, let her point and touch picture books and help turn the pages. Playing with building blocks, modeling clay, and playing with laces help hone this skill.
Sorting and matching shapes, patterns, letters, lines, and words help introduce a child to taking directions. Since reading in English means going from left to right, it helps to know directions and recognizing if the letters are upside down. Introduce to your child the parts of a book such as the front cover, title, and author, and how to hold it properly to encourage print awareness.
Sing nursery rhymes, play word games, read alliterations to your child — these activities help build phonemic awareness, which enables kids to hear individual sounds in words. While it doesn't mean only knowing the letters of the alphabet but also phonemic awareness. This skill helps a child identify and differentiate sounds of letter and groups of letters even before he sees it on the page.
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A child needs to be able to track letters and words with his eyes to be able to read. You can help your child hone this skill by practicing hand-eye coordination. Play ball games or ask your child to follow a flashlight with their eyes. Follow the leader games also contribute to honing this skill.
For a child to understand the words he sees on the page or hearing you say, he needs to know the meaning of the words. To build your child's vocabulary, a vital component of reading comprehension, talk to your child about anything and everything. Let your child ask questions and answer them in words that are appropriate for their age. Ask your kids, questions about the stories you read together. Better yet, make new original stories with your child.
The simplest way to instill in your child a love for books is to ready to them and read with them. Be animated and let them choose the stories they want to read. Limit screen time and instead have books be available to them. Remember, too, that children copy what they see you do than what you tell them to do, so model love for reading for your child. Don't pressure or force them to finish a book — just let them enjoy!