Young children are like sponges, every day they will learn skills that will help them become readers. When adults respond to a toddler’s effort to communicate they increase conversational skills, boost vocabulary and propel the children towards literacy.

Children who hear more words that are spoken at home learn more words and enter school with better vocabularies. This larger vocabulary pays off exponentially as the child progresses through school. Reading aloud is one of the most important things parents and teachers can do with children. It builds many important foundational skills, introduces vocabulary, and provides a model of fluent expressive reading.

When giving directions to your younger children use sentences as they grow older increase the length and complexity of sentences. For e.g instead of using – get the book, you can say –   Please bring your favorite book it is on the desk in your room. Ask questions that require more than a yes or no. Like How did you do this? how did this happen? what can we do next?

There are lots of inputs that a parent/teacher can give at a very early age which will enhance the listening and reading skills of the child.  Here are five ways in which you can prepare your child to read.

1) PRINT MOTIVATION

Parents should read in front of their child. Even if it's a grocery list a bill make it interesting, it not necessarily has to be a book. Read with a cheerful but natural tone/voice. Allow the child to choose his/her book from the basket/cubby or a library. If your boy is picking up all dinosaur be it, or your daughter wants a dozen books on Barbie or dumper truck let her or vice versa. The more involvement the children have with the books they pick the more interest they will have in reading.

2) PRINT AWARENESS

It means noticing the print, knowing how to handle the book, turn pages one at a time, which side is the cover and how to hold the book. They generally love to see the picture the could relate to and letters that relate to their name.

3) NARRATIVE SKILLS

Building narrative skills can be done by encouraging pretend play or by asking open-ended questions during story telling.

4) VOCABULARY

It simply means knowing the names of things and connecting them to objects, pictures. Fiction books, picture talk books, sensory books are great vocabulary builders.

5) PHONOLOGICAL AWARENESS

It is a piece that comes before phonics. It is being able to hear that words are made up of smaller sounds. Challenge your kids by changing the beginning or end of the word and make a sound word. For.e.g cat, fat, mat, bat, cot, cap, can.

Try implementing the above pointers with your child and do let me know how your child is picking up on reading.

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