Learning to read is an intricate process that begins during infancy and continues through the first few years of elementary school. Part of this process includes awareness that words are made of up of sounds; and that those sounds correspond to letters.
Here are some suggestions to encourage literacy development in your preschooler:
- Point out environmental print, which refers to text on familiar labels, logos and signs. Some examples include stop signs, food labels and store names.
- Use ABC puzzles, books, magazines and environmental print to identify letters. You can cut out pictures from magazines that have sounds that begin with each letter and put them together into a book with your child. In addition, ask your child to find letters in his/her name on pieces of environmental print.
- Encourage your preschooler to pretend to read and write while looking at books and coloring pictures. Show your child how to write their name and see if he/she can trace the letters, while reinforcing the sounds associated with each letter. For example, “here’s your name, Sam. S-a-m.”
- Work on early developing phonological awareness activities. Examples of activities for preschoolers include:
- Detecting rhyme (e.g. “do hat and cat sound the same at the end?”)
- Producing rhyme (e.g. “tell me words that rhyme with “hat”)
- Syllabification (e.g. “banana has three syllables- ba-na-na”)
- Play “I Spy” while looking for items that begin with a specific sound around the house, in the car or while out and about. For example, while in the house, ask your child to “look for things with a /k/ sound. Here’s a key, couch and cup.”