Help Your Preschooler Get Ready to Read

Reading Together

Reading to your children helps them become good readers and succeed in school. Here's how to help:

Read to your child as much as possible, at least 20 minutes a day.

  • Be a reader, and have lots of reading material in your house.
  • Choose books you and your child will enjoy.
  • Find a quiet, cozy place away from other distractions such as TV.
  • Let your child look at the book and ask questions before reading.
  • Act out feelings as you read: sad, happy, silly, etc. It gets easier the more you do it!
  • Ask questions about the story and invite your child to ask them, too.
  • Read the same book again and again if your child wants to.
  • Visit the library as a family at least once a month and take your child to story times as often as possible.

Some activities that support reading:

Listening, speaking, reading, and writing are connected. Here are some suggestions that will help your children develop these skills.

Talk with your children often: you are teaching them new words. For example:

  • Describe an orange as you peel it: "This orange is round, shiny, juicy; it's a citrus fruit; the peel is thick."

Ask your children questions: you are teaching them to think. For example:

  • "What did the ladybug say in the story?"
  • "What did you have for a snack today?"

Play word games with your children: you are teaching them that words are fun. For example:

  • "I'm thinking of a big pig! It's a big pig wearing a wig! The big pig's wig looks like a fig!"
  • "Willaby, wallaby, wee, an elephant sat on me. Willaby, wallaby, woo, I don't know what to do."
  • "Nicky, nicky, bo-bicky, banana-fana fo-ficky, me, my, mo micky, Nicky." This is a traditional rhyme, where you put your name in place of "Nicky," then make the rest rhyme: Emma, emma, bo-bemma, banana-fana fo-femma, Emma."

Point out words and letters you see every day: you are teaching your children to recognize words in the environment. For example:

  • "I see the word milk right here!" "Look, there is the exit."
  • "Mmm, milk starts with M." "There's a B sound in baby. (or bat, or bubble)" "There's a T sound in cat, out, boot."

Write stories with your children: you are teaching them that they can create a story with words, and that stories can change or grow. For example:

  • Write your child's words, then let him or her illustrate the story
  • Kids sometimes like to act out a story, with dress-up clothes or with dolls or action figures. Ask them if they'd like to write it down.

Most importantly: have fun!