Where to start
In order for any of this to work, you must go in to this knowing that teaching your preschooler to read is not an impossible task that can only be accomplished in a class room. With just a few simple tools… YOU CAN DO IT No one can teach your preschooler to read better than you can, because no one knows your child better than you do. That being said, lets dive in!
A HUGE struggle most parents face is they start by asking themselves “Is my child ready to read? That is the wrong question. The question should be what can I teach my child NOW? EVERY CHILD, no matter where they are developmentally, is ready to learn SOMETHING that will further their reading skills. Also try to keep in mind that this will take time. Be patient!
Learning the Letters
NOW is the time to start! Thankfully this is the easiest step. Even if your baby/toddler isn’t entirely verbal, you can start teaching him the ABCs. If you have to start from scratch, the best way to kick off is SINGING! Once you’ve sang the ABCs song to where your hate it with every bone in your body, then you know you’ve done it right. Try not to stress “L-M-N-O-P” too much they’ll be doing that for years. Once they know the whole song, then your child is ready to take things a little slower. Slow down into more of a chant than a song and really emphasize each letter.
Practice Letter Recognition
Once your child can say each letter individually, it’s time to work on visually recognizing the letters. I have created a helpful printable worksheet that you can down load to help with recognition. A-F Worksheets I have only included the letters A through F, as the rest will be included in the e-book that I will be launching soon, which will go into much greater detail and also provide examples for each step. It will also have all the printable worksheets for the kids to use. Basically, the way this step will work is going point at the letter while you say the it out load. My kids LOVE to color, so I let them have at it and mess with the work sheets, Repeat the letter a million times till they move on to the next page.
Practice pronouncing the Letters
This step will go by much more quickly than the last, because your child will already know what each letter is now he will learn how each letter sounds. This one is a little less annoying than the ABCS singing stage because it doesn’t require as much repetition. Same rules apply repeat for every letter: “(letter)” is for “(sound)”. In conjunction with that you can continue the worksheets. You will start each page with “(letter)” is for “(sound)” then instead of saying the letter you will be saying the pictures on the work sheet. For example, for the A page, you will be saying to your child: “A(sound)” is for Apple” (while pointing), “A(sound)” is for Ant (while pointing)… etc.. Try to use all the pictures on the worksheet the repetition of the sound in different words plays an entirely different role than just making the sound.
Start Combining Letters
I have found this to be the most challenging stage, because it didn’t sound exactly how I wanted it to and that was frustrating my weird OCD tendencies. I have made an easy to use print out of sounds your child can practice on, that will be available with the e-book, once launched. So start with vowel and consonant SOUNDS not words. Common letter combinations like “an”,”et”,”og”, and “un”. Every letter you pronounce should be elongated so instead of sounding like “an” it will sound like “aaaa-nnnn”. So frustrating but its a HUGE step and super important. Once, your child has learned to connect different sounds, then you can move one to WORDS!
Forming and Pronouncing Words
The same concept as combining sounds applied to pronouncing words. Your primary goals here are for your child to be able to combine more than 2 letters at a time and to reduce the elongation of the sounds to normal. Simply put they should go from saying (elongated sound) “aaaa-tttt” to (elongated word)”ccccc-aaaa-tttt” to saying (regular word)”cat”. Try practicing multiple words with same type of sound at a time. For example, Cat, Hat Mat, Fat, ect. The e-book will have a a worksheet with a list of words that are good starting words for beginning readers, separated by sound to make this part easier.
The **BIGGEST TIP** that I can give you for this step is to SHUT UP and LISTEN!
This is a learning process for him. He needs to go through it and experience it himself. Reading is not like history, it cannot be learned by someone telling him how to do it, it must be learned by practice. Let him struggle, and let him say it wrong.
Four letter words and Long vowels
Once your child is properly pronouncing simple three letter words with short vowel sounds, he is ready to move on to four letter words. For letter words is just a matter of practice, because at this stage your child has all the foundational skills. You can also start implementing long vowel sounds. You will be starting back at the pronunciation step, and go through the same process, just use words that specifically have long vowel sounds.
Extra Tips on How to teach your preschooler to read:
- Repetition is key to learning to annunciate.
- Do not practice short vowel during the introduction of long vowels
- Avoid words with silent e, a gh sound, sh, ch and th.
- Always point to the individual letters being pronounced in the words