Creating a ‘literate home’ for your preschool child does not require a lot of expensive materials, but the most important ‘material’ that is needed is constant parent involvement. As your young pre-schooler continues to build her skills for reading, she not only needs support from her preschool but also from home. Having a wide variety of books around is important. Besides that, there are several inexpensive ways to help your child develop reading skills and habits at home.
#1 - Children’s Books
The most appropriate types of books for young children are story books with characters that stand out, nursery rhymes, alphabet books and informational books. With low attention spans, short stories are ideal. Look for great bargains at book sales or visit the library often. Always take your child with you so she can pick her own books and thus develop the love for reading.
#2 – Alphabet Cards
One of the best ways of helping your child to read at home is by using alphabet cards. This Montessori reading method is not only easy to relate to, it is also practical and gives children plenty of confidence. These letters are easily available in book shops and all you need to do is spend a few minutes each day going through the sounds of every letter. Once your child is familiar with these, start blending a consonant with a vowel and learn to blend sounds. Very soon your child will be able to read words!
#3 - Writing Materials
Reading and writing go hand in hand. Writing for young children is very different as they are still developing the small muscles in their hands. They are more comfortable using crayons, thick markers and paint brushes. Let your child paint letters while she sounds them. Let her use an easel to draw letters while she sounds them. These fun methods work well as they hold the child’s interest.
#4 – Crafts
There are many craft activities available over the internet that are related to alphabets and reading. These activities pique the interest of young children without making reading look like a boring chore. Look up an activity every week that your child can do with you. You both will get to read and spend some fun quality time together.
#5 – Book shelf
Organize a book shelf and reading corner with your child in her room. When she has a special place to sit in to read, she will be motivated to spend some quiet time reading here every day. Join her the first few days. You both can sit quietly reading your own books in the reading corner. This is habit forming and my children still remember how we started off reading this way. Now, they go to their reading corners every day to read, spend some ‘me’ time and de-stress.
#6 – Read Aloud
Till your child is comfortable and confident enough to read on her own, continue your read aloud sessions in your daily routine. Whether you do this at bed time or any other time, this is one routine that always remains in children’s minds and parents’ hearts. This should be a time you both look forward to every day. When you read to your child, point out the words in the book so your child can learn to recognise words.
#7 – Listen
When your child begins to read on her own, encourage her to read aloud to you. They may read aloud by memory or by actually reading, but having an audience is always good for confidence.
#8 – Role Model
Unfortunately, when it comes to parenting, the best way to teach your child to do something is by doing it yourself. If you look around you, you will see that parents who read will have children who read. Introduce to them the world of reading and show them how wonderful it is by reading yourself. When you have finished your book, talk to your child about your book, about the story and about why you enjoyed it.
Reading is one habit every person should cultivate. They say that books are your best friend and someone who always has something to read is never bored and lonely. Happy parenting!