Can I Teach My Child To Read Before Kindergarten? Yes, You CAN!
You can teach your child to read or get them ready to learn to read. Introduce your children to the alphabet by teaching them that letters have particular sounds. Progress into blending sounds and show how to blend letters and letter combinations together.
Read more about phonics and phonemic awareness at Wikipedia. It is important to understand the relationship between phonics, phonemes, phonemic awareness and phonological awareness as well as what these terms mean. Here are some more tips you can try at home to get your child reading early.
- Read books, many books and read consistently. Read anything in your home available and model fluency with your child. Follow along with your finger so your child can recognize what words you are reading. As your child learns to read, make sure they have reading materials that are appropriate for their learning level. Great starter books are BOB Books for teaching your child to read because they are simple for children and provide almost instant success. A variety of fiction and non-fiction books should interest any child that has a big imagination or desire to learn real facts. Ask your child questions while you read and use a variety of questioning; questions that require yes/no answers and those that require your child to think or form predictions.
- If you are looking to teach even a younger child to read, it is possible. As long as a baby or toddler can speak, they can learn to read. Read more about babies and toddlers. Use manipulatives such as magnetic alphabet letters or foam alphabet letters that your child can play with. Incorporate puzzles and games into your daily routine so your child gets more exposure to letters and words. Sing the alphabet song with your child and practice singing other rhyming songs. These all help your child develop language.
- Have regular conversations with your child. Help your child learn new words and practice using them. The more children talk, repeat words and use the words they learn, the more developed their vocabulary will become. Vocabulary is often the biggest weakness in elementary reading skills. It is important to teach strategies to figure out the meanings of words. Plan to incorporate technology by providing project based opportunities such as building a slide show on Google Slides using the current words, definitions, synonyms/antonyms, the words used in sentences and even pictures!
- Online programs are recommended to give children a variety of learning only if well balanced with reading materials in print. Starfall is a good starting program for kids that introduces phonics. There are many other reading sites that you can visit and use for free such as Seussville and PBSkids. If you would like to introduce your child to non-fiction information, check out Britannica Kids for free to find information about places, animals, people and more! You have unlimited reading potential and the vivid pictures will keep your child engaged.
Don’t stop at reading. Extend your teaching to simple numbers and number concepts. Again, it’s never too early!
Is Your Child Ready For School? What You Can Do To Help.
- Practice Name Writing. Have your child practice writing their name neatly and most importantly, make sure they know how to spell their name. They will feel proud if they can write their name as they enter school and it can have quite the opposite effect if they don’t know how to write their name or spell it. Incorporate writing in other ways such as writing lists and then your child can practice reading the lists too! Start with a simple grocery list or recipe.
- Read with your child. If your child has practiced reading out loud, then they will be less nervous to do so in school. They may actually get excited and raise their hand to have a turn reading aloud in front of their peers. The more you read to your child and the more fluent reading they hear, the better they will become. They will know what fluent reading sounds like and can imitate you as they learn to read. The same goes for reading aloud. They more they read out loud, the better they will become and the more confidence they will have both at home and in the classroom.
- Start getting rest and setting an earlier bedtime. Get in the routine prior to school so it will be an easier transition back to school. Make reading at bedtime part of your routine. And in the morning, don’t forget to have your child eat and brush their teeth. If your school serves breakfast and your child is early to school, then no need to worry, but make sure your child get something to eat before school. As far as brushing teeth, we know that we feel better when we brush our teeth before work and couldn’t imagine going without doing so. The same goes for your child. Even if they don’t want to brush their teeth, they will feel better if they do especially when working closely with peers.
- Talk about school and ask about your child’s feelings. They may have questions that you can answer to make them feel at ease to start. Discuss what they can expect on their first day and the upcoming year ahead. Be enthusiastic so your enthusiasm will be contagious. You want to share that with your child because there is so much planned for them to learn in the year ahead. If you show excitement, then your child will have more excitement and will want to come home and share their school days with you. Don’t forget to ask them about their day and don’t settle for the answer, “nothing.” I assure you, coming from a teacher, they do a lot more than “nothing.”
- If your child is entering school below grade level in reading, then start reading now because you can help your child. If you are not sure, look at your child’s last report card. It should include a graph that compares your child’s reading level to their specified grade level. If you still don’t know, ask your child’s teacher to share the last reading results and then get involved reading with your child. If you find that your child is behind in reading, read more about struggling readers and what you can do to help. It’s never too late to teach your child to read.
The importance of reading at grade level by the end of third grade cannot be stressed enough. Your child will continue to struggle and even risk not graduating high school.
You May Ask, If I Teach My Child to Read, Then What Will They Learn in School?
- If your child is reading fluently as they enter school, then they will be able to complete their work above grade level. They will develop high level thinking skills and vocabulary beyond their peers as well.
- Differentiation is present (or should be) in every classroom. Students are taught using the same base reading materials (textbooks, close reading books, etc.), but teachers differentiate within and beyond the curriculum to meet the needs of every student whether their abilities are high, low or anywhere in between. Differentiation is also achieved by modifying tasks or assignments based on ability and needs. If your child is reading fluently, they may be provided with more project based learning opportunities.
- As some children are still learning to read, other children are reading to learn. The more proficient children are at reading, the more they will be able to learn. They will be able to expand their learning and create projects that may just surprise you! Proficient readers will benefit in all subject because they won’t be struggling to read instructions, word problems or any other text. You will see them soar in Writing, Math, Science, and Social Studies.
- Teaching student’s the skills they need for life is the first priority along with academics. It is most important that children learn the skills they need to be productive community members as they grow. It is equally important that student’s are reading my grade level by the end of third grade. The earlier we start teaching our youth to read, the more literacy there will be in the world.
Good luck in preparing your child for school. The bigger boost you can give them at home, the better off they will be in school and in life.