Pre-Reading Activities for Preschoolers
What are Pre-Reading Skills?
Pre-reading activities for preschoolers are the ones you just don’t want to skip or skim over lightly. Pre-reading skills are defined as the skills that must be mastered in order to lay a good foundation for reading. Different experts name different essential pre-reading skills, but here are the main ones:
- Communication Skills – From a very young age, children start communicating with body language, sounds, and actions. Did you know that working on your child’s communication skills will help them to have an excellent vocabulary?
- Phonological Awareness – Phonological awareness is the ability to recognize and work with sounds in a spoken language. It comes naturally to some children, however, others have to work on it. Examples of phonological awareness are recognizing rhyming words, the number of syllables in a word, and sound repetition in a word.
- Print Motivation – This is my favorite one! Print motivation is getting your child interested in the written word. Some ways you can do this are reading aloud to your child, taking your child to the library, using rhymes, and changing voices when you are reading. In other words, make reading look fun and interesting!
- Print Awareness – Print awareness is getting your child to understand that when you read, letters have actual meaning. Different ways to instill this into your child is to move your finger under the words while reading from left to right, point out signs that have words on them, label different things around the house, and make sure you place books around in the play area.
- Vocabulary – Help your child learn the names of things. The main way to do this is to talk about everything! Point out words, read the, and explain what they mean. Explain the steps you are following while cooking a recipe. In addition, sing songs, teach rhymes, and always explain words they don’t know.
- Letter Recognition – The last pre-reading skill needed is letter recognition. Preschoolers need to understand that letters have different names and sounds. Go slow, teach one at a time, and don’t stress if they just don’t get it yet. They will eventually comprehend and remember the names. The main thing to remember is to make it FUN!
How do I teach pre-reading skills to my preschooler?
If you don’t remember anything else I say, just remember this: Make it fun! Preschoolers don’t have a long attention span so sitting them down to do worksheet after worksheet just won’t work. As a result, kids this age need to be active and doing hands-on activities.
So I have gathered together some fun and engaging pre-reading activities for preschoolers that are easy to do in your home.
10 Pre-Reading Activities for Preschoolers
- Read aloud to your child – Reading aloud to your children enhances literacy skills, language skills, imagination, and creativity, among other important benefits. In my opinion, this is a crucial step in the pre-reading process.
- Play with magnetic letters – Use letters in structured activities and in free play. During bath time, let them play with those stick-on foam letters that stick the the sides of the bathtub. Or get a cheap metal cookie sheet and let them play with magnetic letters (or your fridge…mine is the new kind that doesn’t have the magnetic surface).
- Sequencing – Pick a book or story that your child is very familiar with. Ask her what happens at the beginning of the story, the middle of the story, and at the end of the story. There are also printable sequencing activities that work great for practicing this pre-reading activity.
- Predicting – When choosing a new picture book to read, show your child the cover and ask him to predict what the story will be about. After you read the story, ask him if his prediction was right. If it wasn’t, what was different?
- Special place to read – Make a reading fort in your child’s bedroom or another quiet place. Drape blankets or sheets over chairs to make a fort. Supply a child-size flashlight and books for a fun place to read books with your child or a place he can look at books himself.
- Summer Reading Programs – Local libraries usually have summer reading programs that your child can join, even as a preschooler or toddler. They will get to set a goal of having books read to them and will get special prizes and coupons.
- Rhyming – Read a nursery rhyme to your child. Then, re-read the the rhyme, leaving out the last word of every other line of the rhyme. Let your child fill in the last word that goes in the rhyme.
- Sounds – One way to get your preschooler to understand that letters make sounds is to teach them the sounds that different animals make. Once they know the animal sounds, explain that letters make sounds too.
- Letter Recognition Activities – There are so many fun and engaging activities to help kids practice recognizing the letters in the alphabet! Salt tray letter tracing, play dough mats, dot marker maze worksheets….Here is one that preschoolers love and uses dot markers (bingo daubers): Alphabet Letter Hunt.
- Photo Book – Buy a cheap small photo album like this and put pictures of family members, including a picture of your preschooler. Label all of the pictures with masking tape or pieces of paper stuck inside each sleeve with the name of each person. Be sure to write in big, clear letters with legible handwriting. Go through the photo album with your child and point out the names, moving your finger under the word as you read it. This will help with print awareness and recognizing his or her own name.
Want to know what I recommend to teach preschool at home?
Are you thinking of teaching your preschooler at home soon? Not sure what he or she will need to keep up with peers in private preschools? With my background in Early Childhood Education (preK through 3rd), I’ve taught in preschools and even taught preschool to my own 4 children, successfully preparing them for kindergarten while following developmentally appropriate practices. So sign up below to get this FREE 16-page guide to the top 10 essentials that I recommend you need to start teaching preschool while saving hundreds of dollars!