Teaching kids to read is one of the most rewarding parts of a teacher’s career. At Prosperity Day School, the teachers at out Palm Beach Gardens child care center have the privilege of teaching young minds how to read. Watching your child grow is our passion, and when it comes to nurturing your child’s growth—there is no better teacher than a student’s parents. After all, you taught them how to walk and talk and helped them master potty training — you can do this, too!
During our toddler, preschool, and kindergarten programs at Prosperity Day School, our instructors will focus on developing their fine motor skills necessary to thrive in their future education. Our hands-on activities combined with structured learning concepts are designed to teach children that learning is fun! If you’re a parent and feel that your little one is ready to start reading, this article is for you! Continue reading to learn what signs to look for that indicate your child is prepared to read, and what you can do at home to teach them.
Signs That Kids Are Ready To Read
Think back to when your child was a baby, getting ready to take their first steps. They would practice by pulling themselves up to a standing position and then progress by holding onto your hands while taking wobbly and shaky footsteps. Until one day, they muster up the courage to unexpectedly take their very first steps on their own. A very proud moment, to say the least.
Similar to learning how to walk, children will show signs that they’re ready to for another challenge like reading. These signs are called “pre-reading skills,” and they include four concepts: motivation, print awareness, letter recognition, and phonological awareness. Parents can easily promote and nurture these four concepts at home.
To effectively motivate your child to read, they must be interested first. Many toddlers will begin picking books up on their own and browse through the pictures, while others may not show much interest in books, especially if there are toys nearby. Parents can generate interest by collecting and gathering books on topics the child enjoys. Themes like cars, trains, zoo animals, movie characters, bugs, insects or anything your child can’t seem to get enough of is an excellent tactic for catching their attention. Next, make story time a special opportunity to bond as a family. For instance, many parents choose to read before bedtime or before a nap. Parents will make reading something for kids to look forward to by including a light snack and reading in their favorite spot, clutching onto their favorite stuffed animal.
Print awareness is to understand the concept of reading. Children should understand that readers can sound out words on a page by looking at the letters and thinking about what sounds they make, and combine those sounds to form words. Print awareness also includes how to read a book, by establishing the proper way to hold a book and which direction to turn the pages.
Before children learn to read, they should know how to recognize letters. Typically, this concept develops when they are learning the alphabet. Some children will even begin to recognize letters based on the spelling of their name since they likely see their name on most often.
Phonological awareness is the understanding of hearing the sounds in words. Rhyming is a great tool to use to help children understand the different sounds words will have. Playing games like Five Little Monkeys at home is a fun and easy way to teach kids how to break words into parts.
How To Teach Kids To Read
The easiest (and most fun) word to teach kids first is their name! Many school teachers will sing name songs in class to make it fun for everyone to learn together. Songs will help children associate that sounds, and “clumps” of letters make words, which introduces the next steps to combine the sounds and make words.
Children learn best by being able to explore and play first. Allow your kids to observe each letter, and ask them to describe the letters. For instance, are the letters curvy or straight? Do the shapes of the letters remind you of animals or the objects? Once kids can observe the different shapes, you can introduce them to a variety of letter games. Letter games such as:
- ABC match-up
- Letter tracing maps
- ABC coloring books
- Alphabet stamping sheets
- ABC cup hunt
- Alphabet ball
Once children learn and associate the sounds of letters, learning words are next! There are several strategies to learning words, two of the most common strategies are:
Sounding out the word by breaking the word up by individual sounds and blending (phonological awareness/phonics).
Memorizing common words (i.e. the, and, of) so your child learns the entire word and begins to recognize them right away, saving themselves time as they learn to read.
Teaching children both strategies is a seamless way to teach kids to read. As you know, there will be many times kids will come across unfamiliar words throughout their education (and lives) that they will need to sound it out phonetically.
Sounding out words and learning the practice of reading alone is relatively useless if those words are not comprehended. Good readers must be able to think about what is happening in the story. A great technique to develop reading comprehension is to pause and discuss what was just read out loud together. As the parent, you’ll need to initiate questions to encourage critical thinking. Asking questions like:
- Ask about the characters in the story
- How did (a situation in the story) make you feel?
- What would you do in that situation?
- What do you think will happen next?
- Reflect back on their favorite parts of the story once you have finished the story. Do your best to exclude questions related to the pictures and encourage your child to think critically about the context they just read.
Our curriculum at Prosperity Day School is unique, enriching, fun, and most of all—efficient! If you live in the Palm Beach Gardens area and you’re looking for a childcare center for your infant, toddler, preschooler or kindergartner, stop by our daycare facility for a tour. Our teachers are dedicated to enriching your child with the skills they need in their future education. We encourage problem-solving, personal interaction skills, and hands-on learning for the highest quality childcare in a safe and nurturing environment. Visit our site to learn more and contact us to schedule your tour today!