Children can begin developing the skills to prepare them for reading long before they are actually ready to learn how to read.
How Parents Can Help
Parents can ignite this course of development at home. One of the first steps in this process is to promote early language development and vocabulary, by naming objects and talking to your child about what he or she is doing. Another pre-reading activity is to point out pictures and words of interest in the environment (e.g. posters in play centres; stop signs).
It’s Never Too Early to Start!
Books can be introduced at any age! The focus does not have to be on reading. Simply turning the pages, looking at pictures, and hearing your vocal expressions and reactions will help evoke your child’s interest in reading material.
Taking it To the Next Level
Once you do begin reading stories, take time to pause the story and talk about the pictures as you go. Anticipate and predict what might be under the flap or on the next page. Finally, let your child take the lead in selecting books and expressing his or her interests. Beware…this may require reading the same book again and again, for what feels like an eternity. Just remember, you are doing it all to support your little one’s future reading skills.