3 Pre-Reading Skills: Before You Teach Your Child to Read

Reading starts so much earlier than decoding letters on a page! Our children start to gain many of the necessary skills to be successful readers far earlier than they are "reading." Holding a book right side up, pretending to read and write, following the text with their finger, knowing familiar signs (e.g., their favorite chain restaurant) and symbols (e.g., stop sign), and retelling stories from memory are all ways our children show us they are preparing themselves for reading!

There are a few other skills you can start to highlight while reading with your child. These are all phonological and phonemic awareness skills, which means they teach children to notice the different parts of words from bigger parts all the way to the individual sounds. Later when your child starts to learn reading and spelling formally, these will support them in pulling words apart and putting them back together.

  • Rhyming: We find rhyming books in so many forms! Encourage your child to make their own rhymes and point out rhymes in everyday life. It's ok for these to be silly words!
  • Syllables: Noticing words that are short versus long. Clap, jump, and skip along to make a game of finding words with many syllables!
  • Sounds: Highlight for your child words that have the same starting sound (this is called alliteration). What words have the same first sound as their name (Allison and apple and ant and alligator!)? What about the same first sounds as their favorite character or food?

Most importantly...have fun reading! Picking out a book and reading the story is hopefully a fun and enjoyable activity for your child.

Happy reading!