4 Ways You Can Build Pre-Reading Skills in Young Children

 4 Ways You Can Build Pre-Reading Skills in Young Children

1. Read to your children every day!

Reading to your babies, toddlers, preschoolers, and kindergarteners is the single most important activity you can do to build their pre-reading skills. 

So if you get NOTHING else from this post, get this: Go curl up with your kiddos and a great book!

If you read to your child for 20 minutes each day, your child will hear 1,800,000 words each year. If you only spend 1 minute reading, that means the child is only hearing 8,000 words each year. That is a HUGE difference.

Do you have a wiggly toddler who doesn't like to sit on your lap to listen to a story?

That is perfectly fine! I had a couple of those in my house, too. You can read to your child wherever they are! They will still hear all of this rich vocabulary!
  • Read to your child while they are in their high chair eating a snack.
  • Read to your child while they are taking a bath.
  • Listen to audiobooks in the car.

2. Let your babies and toddlers play with books.

Children need opportunities to hold and manipulate books. They need opportunities to open and close covers. They need to learn how to turn pages. Knowing how to "orient a book" is an important pre-reading skill. Children learn which side is up and the direction your turn the pages.

Of course board books are a great option, but I also love these indestructible books.

Does your child have trouble turning one page at a time?

You can hack your book by adding foam stickers to the pages. This creates space between the pages, making it easier for little fingers to access.

3. Call attention to words by pointing to them as you read.

Pointing to the words as you ready children helps them build print concept awareness.
  • This shows that we read the words and not the pictures.
  • This shows that we read from top to bottom.
  • This shows that we read from left to right.
  • This shows that each word is separate.

4. Give in and read the book again :)

All children do this. They beg for you to read and reread their favorite books. They may even ask you to read it again before you even say “the end.”
This helps your child understand the structure of the book better. It helps them to retell the story or recall facts. Multiple exposures to the same book helps your child build their vocabulary.

My oldest daughter wore out this book: “Raindrop Plop!” I don’t even know why she loved it so much. I think I still have it memorized.

How to stop saying NO to your children

 Do you feel like a broken record?

No, put that down.

No, out of your mouth.

No running.

No hitting.

No screaming.

For many children hearing NO is a behavioral trigger.  This means that not only do adults have to try to stop the original misbehavior (the one they were saying NO to), but now adults have to help calm a child who is now having a meltdown or being defiant.

Think about it....do you like being told NO?  I know I sure don't!

How do we stop saying "NO?" What can we do instead?

Change the Environment:

Look at your space.  What can you move or take out to prevent the misbehavior?  

Can you remove all the small Legos that your child puts in her mouth?  
Can you put up your breakable decorations? 
Can you arrange your furniture to prevent runways?
Is there a toy that your child ALWAYS takes away from a sibling?  Can you get another?

Remember it is much easier to change the child's environment versus changing the child.

Write down why you are saying no:

Once you know what you are saying NO to, you will have  starting point for change.  
Write these on a piece of paper.  Type them into the notes section on your phone as you say them.  

Write down positive alternatives:

What are positive alternatives?  They are directives that tell the child what you want them TO DO. They are written in a positive manner.  

For example: 
"Nice touches" instead of "No hitting"
"Walking feet" instead of "No running"
"Use your inside voice" instead of "No screaming"
"Hands down" instead of "No!  Do not pull her hair!"