Teach Pre-reading skills for your Baby
1. Narrative Skills (Telling a story): Tell your child stories or ask your child to tell you about something that happened today. Being able to tell or retell a story helps children understand what they read.
- Listen to your child carefully when he talks.
- Ask your child to tell you about something that happened. Let him tell you about a picture he drew.
- Share books together.
- Stories help children understand that things happen in order—first, next, last.
- Read a book together that your child already knows. Switch what you do. You be the listener and let your child tell you the story.
- Ask “what” questions. Point to a picture and say,” What’s that?” or “What is happening here?”
- Add to what your child says. If your child says,” big truck” then you say,” Yes, a big red fire truck.”
- Ask open-ended questions like,” What do you think is happening in this picture?”
- Help your child relate what is happening in the story to her own experience, for example, “What happened when we went on a picnic?”Being able to tell or retell a story helps children understand what they read.
2. Vocabulary (Knowing the names of things): Talk with your child about what is going on around you. When your child talks with you, add more detail to what he or she says. Research shows that children who have larger vocabularies are better readers.
- Talk with your baby or toddler about what is going on around you. When your babbles baby or your child talks, listen carefully and answer.
- Ask your baby or toddler lots of questions. Even if she does not have the words to answer, she learns that questions are invitations for her to respond.
- Speak clearly. Use short sentences. Repeat yourself when your child shows interest.
- Speak in the language that is most comfortable for you.
- Read together every day. Books have pictures of things you may not see often. Name the pictures as you point to them—this helps children learn new words.
- Research shows that children who have larger vocabularies are better readers. Knowing many words helps children recognize written words and understand what they read.
3. Print Motivation (Enjoying books): Make reading time a special time for closeness between you and your child. Let your child see you reading. Children who enjoy books will want to learn how to read.
4. Print Awareness (Reading left to right; holding books upright): Read aloud-everyday print -- labels, signs, lists, menus. Let your child turn the pages when you read. Hold the book upside down -- see if your child turns the book around. 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. Point to some of the words as you say them, especially words that are repeated.
5. Phonological Awareness:Most children who have an understanding of phonological awareness have an easier time learning to read. Help your pre-reader become aware of the smaller sounds that make up words.
- Ask whether two words rhyme: “Do ‘cat’ and ‘dog’ rhyme?” “Do ‘cat’ and ‘hat’ rhyme?”
- Say words with word chunks left out: “What word would we have if you took the ‘hot’ away from ‘hotdog’?”
- Put two word chunks together to make a word: “What word would we have if we put ‘cow’ and ‘boy’ together?”
- Say words with sounds left out: “What word would we have if we took the ‘buh’ sound away from "bat’?”
- Say rhymes and make up your own silly, nonsense rhymes together.
- Sing songs. Songs have different notes for each syllable in a word.
- Read some poetry together. Make up short poems together. Say the words that rhyme.
- Say rhymes and sing songs in the language most comfortable for you.
6. Letter Recognition: Help your child see different shapes and the shapes of letters. Write your child's name -- especially the first letter. Make letters from clay or use magnetic letters. Point out and name letters when reading alphabet books, signs or labels. Show your child that the same letter can look different. Write words that interest your child (like “dinosaur” or “truck”) using crayons, magnetic letters or pencil and paper. Knowing the names and sounds of letters helps children figure out how to sound out words.
Source: American Library Association