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  • Writer's pictureDr. V.S. Gayathri

Pre-reading Activities To Try With Your Toddler!

Pre-reading skills are an important aspect of early literacy for young children. Research shows that children get ready to read years before they start school. At home, you can start helping your toddler to learn important skills now so they can become good readers.


As a parent, your role in developing pre-reading skills in your toddler is crucial. Since, you know your children the best, you can be their best teacher at this age. Children learn best when they are in a good mood, and you know their moods best. You can also help your children learn reading skills in ways that are easiest for them. Kids learn the best by doing things and that too when you are involved. Take every chance you have to read with your children, tell and talk about stories.


Why is it important for children to develop pre-reading skills?


  • Pre-reading skills prepare the foundation for them to become good readers later

  • Parents reading to their children is a wonderful way to connect and encourage a future love of books.

  • Pre-reading is also a vital step towards school readiness. It helps lay the foundation for what children will learn in school, like reading books from front to back and reading words from left to right.

  • Pre-reading skills help kids recognize words and letters and also promote confidence in them to communicate their own thoughts and ideas.


How can you get started with the SIX major aspects of pre-reading skills?


Vocabulary: Talk to your child about your and their feelings and about things going on around you. Add details that are easy for them to interpret to what they are saying. Read together every day. When you talk about the story and pictures, your child hears and learns more words. Research shows that children who have larger vocabularies are better readers. Knowing different words helps them to recognize written words and understand what they read.


Print Motivation: Use the reading time as a special time for bonding closeness as they see you read. Visit the public library or reading clubs often, if feasible. Children who enjoy reading books will want to learn how to read.


Print Awareness: Read aloud every day – materials in different forms labels, signs, lists, menus, etc. Point to some of the words as you say them, especially words that are repeated. Let your child hold the book and read or tell the story. Being familiar with printed language helps children feel comfortable with books and understand that print is useful.


Narrative Skills: Narrate stories to your child often. Ask them what happened in school or the playground. Tell them about your day too, something worthwhile. Stories help children understand that things happen in order. Repeat a book even if you have read it earlier. Switch roles—you be the listener and let your child tell you the story. Being able to tell or retell a story helps children understand what they read.


Phonological Awareness: Sing nursery rhymes and make up your own silly, nonsense rhymes. Play word games such as, “What sounds like ‘see’?” or “What starts with the same sound as ‘ran’?” Being able to hear the sounds that makeup words helps children sound out words as they begin to read.


Letter Knowledge: Help your child with different shapes and the shapes of letters as they read. Talk about which ones are the same or similar and which ones are different. Plan some activities like writing the letters of your child’s name with clay or magnetic letters and then let them try. Read alphabet books with clear letters and pictures. Knowing the names and sounds of letters helps children figure out how to sound out words.

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