When you find yourself wondering if your child is ever going to start reading, know this: they could, with a little help from you, by acquiring skills that will help them in their formal education years. These are the skills your child’s arsenal needs to be well-equipped with. Skills that will go a long way in ensuring they are not overburdened by that ‘stress’ that often accompanies the learning of reading.
6 Pre-Reading Skills every child needs
Here are the primary pre-reading skills children need, that will help to dramatically ease that learning of reading to follow.
1.Print Motivation. This skill encompasses being excited about and interested in, reading books.
Tip: Read in front of your children as much as you can, showing them you are excited about it, too!
2.Narrative Skills. These entail children being able to describe things and the events they have been a part of.
Tip: Making up stories to tell your child is a great way to develop these skills.
3.Phonological Awareness. This touches upon the ability to hear the smaller sounds that words are made up of, and playing with those sounds.
Tip: Singing nursery rhymes to your child is a great way to nurture this skill.
4.Letter understanding. This one helps kids understand that every letter is unique, not only in the way it looks but because it has its own name and sound, too.
Tip: Starting with name activities here is a good idea!
5.Vocabulary skills. This one’s about knowing the names of things and connecting them to objects, feelings and ideas.
Tip: Aim for a few new words each week, not more as this can be overwhelming.
6.Print Awareness. This one’s for understanding that print is organized in a particular way.
Tip: Draw kids’ attention to words and letters in books.
8 Ways to Build Pre-Reading Skills in Kids
Now that we’ve gotten more than just a gist of what those pre-reading skills are about, it’s time to delve deeper into finding how we can get our children to inculcate the very best of them.
Telling stories is one of the pre-reading activities that keep your children engaged for hours.
Conjure up a story about a random picture from a book or even the local newspaper. Then show them another picture and tell them that this time round, it is they that have to be the storyteller.
Great for: Enhancing Narrative and Vocabulary Skills.
Ask Questions while you read
By now you know you need to be reading something to your children every day, to improve their pre-reading skills. It doesn’t stop there!
It’s great if you ask questions while you read, or perhaps even after. Questions that involve things like cause and effect, and even those that get kids to elicit their opinions!
Great for: Developing Comprehension and Higher-order thinking skills.
The Rhyming Words Game
This one’s a great game for the entire family, that will help sharpen those reading skills for kids without a doubt.
Say a rhyming word. Another child or person in the family has to say a word that rhymes with the word you have chosen. The game goes on until the last person is out of rhyming words. The game continues with the remaining players and another word.
Great for: Sharpening Phonological Awareness and Vocabulary.
Developing Listening Skills
Using compound words, you can help harness those pre-reading skills, namely listening skills, most effectively.
Say a word out loud to your child, like ‘butterfly’. Have them say the word after you. Then, tell them to say the same word removing ‘butter’. They have to respond, of course, with the answer ‘fly’. While this one might seem difficult at first, it’s worth pursuing to take those listening skills to another level.
Great for: The ability to manipulate sounds.
Striking off Words
This is again one of those activities that will boost those reading skills for kids.
What you need to do here, is make up a short story that you will be narrating to your child. Ensure you write it down, and also jot down a few words at random from the text you are going to be reading, on another sheet of paper to be given to your child. When you read, your child has to strike off the words you have marked, as they hear them.
Great for: Improving those Vocabulary skills.
Stories about Family Pictures
Family pictures are not only great to look at, but to play this really cool game with, too. At the same time, bolstering those pre-reading skills!
Take an old family album and ask your child to tell a story about the people in them. Tell them there are no correct answers and that they should instead come up with the most fun story they are capable of, even if it might be crazy.
Great for: Improving Vocabulary and Narrative skills.
The Letter Game
This is one of the more direct ways of improving reading skills in children.
Take a plastic tray and fill it with flour. Then add plastic letters matching the letters you have written on a sheet, to it. Your child has to take a letter in the flour and match it with its respective counterpart on the paper.
Great for: Letter Knowledge
Creating an Environmental Print Book
Pre-reading skills using books? Nice! Even better? Creating a book yourself!
Environmental print is nothing short of the words, signs and symbols kids see every now and then. Have your kid cut out symbols and logos that are familiar to them, from resources like magazines and newspapers. They can then paste them onto a sheet of paper. Keep the collection flowing and finally, make a ‘book’ from those ‘collage sheets’.
When you get your child to indulge in the activities listed here, what you are really doing is strengthening the very foundations of their literacy. The more they indulge in them, the more they will want to repeat them over time. Enroll your child with EuroKids now!