As children inch closer to pre-K and Kindergarten, parents are faced with the question of whether or not their child is “reading ready”.
Some of the things that might be on a parent’s mind include:
Did I adequately prepare my child to recognize letters and sounds?
Is it sufficient to send my child to school knowing the alphabet song?
How can I make sure my child is in a good position when it comes to phonics, phonemic awareness, and fluency?
First, let’s start by defining some of the words that may be thrown at you as you enter this critical period in your child’s life.
The ability to hear, identify, and manipulate units of sound. Separating the word “cat” for example into 3 distinct phonemes (or units of sound).
The relationship between sounds and the letters that represent them. In the above example of the word “cat”, the sounds that c, a, and t make correspond with those symbols/letters of the English alphabet.
Reading in a way that is conversational. In other words, reading with accuracy, conversational speed, and proper expression.
Getting your Child Reading Ready
Now that we’ve defined some of the most common terms in early literacy, here are some ways you can practice emerging literacy skills to make sure your child is prepared!
Read to and with your child
Carving out a daily time for reading not only fosters a love of books in your child, it provides them with a basic understanding of how books are held (upright), read (left to right), treated (carefully), and experienced. Be sure to spend time making sure your child comprehends what is being read because understanding is crucial to reading readiness. Children look forward to bedtime stories or reading after dinner with their parents. Make this an enjoyable time for your child so that she will look forward to it at school.
The very act of communicating with your child helps with reading readiness. When you converse with your child, you are showing him that language is a form of communication, and this becomes a building block for him to comprehend what he hears and reads.
Provide opportunities for written expression
It’s okay that your child isn’t writing words yet! When your child scribbles as a form of communication, he begins to understand that speech is represented by symbols and markings. This is a good emerging literacy skill that your child will need as he prepares to write letters and words.
Use the Internet!
If you’re concerned that you aren’t creative or can’t come up with fun games or activities for your child to practice her literacy, use the vast resource that is the internet! Children love interacting on phones and tablets. If you are comfortable with your child using technology, provide them with opportunities to practice their emerging literacy skills on websites such as: PBS Learning Media, Starfall Education, or ReadWriteThink.
Natalie Mangrum is the CEO of Maryland Teacher Tutors, a private tutoring company taking Maryland by storm. To learn more about how professionally certified teachers can help your family, visit them on the web!