When we read, one of the skills we develop and use involves matching. As babies and children grow they learn to match shapes, patterns and eventually words. Some of the important language and reading things to focus on for pre-readers and early readers include:
- Rhyming - Children who understand about rhyming words have a head start in learning to read and eventually spell.
- Context - Encourage children to look for clues as to what the story you are reading might be about. Can they relate the story back to their own experiences?
- Concepts of print - This is all about knowing how to handle books, eg holding them the right way up, turning the pages in sequence, exploring the pictures, knowing that the words can be read to tell a story. Eventually, learning about contents pages and index and chapters.
- Direction - Being aware that print goes from left to right will lead children to be familiar with where to start each line and which direction to go in when they start reading. Pointing to each word as it is read is something children will be encouraged to do once they start school.
- Language skills - The more experience children have of language, the more easily they will learn to read. Let your child hear and join in conversations (with adults and children), and listen to stories, songs and poetry.
- Letter skills - Recognising letter shapes, learning the most common sounds that each letter makes will give children a head start on their reading journey.
- Motor skills: This is for the older pre-schooler... Practising writing letters and words as they learn to read them will help it all to sink in.
Mummy to Three Small Boys