Follow this guide and you will will raise not only a kid who loves books through and through BUT a lifelong learner.
The age when your child begins to read doesn’t matter, what matters is that you as a parent does in the early years. Interacting and playing with your child and reading at least 30 minutes a day.
Preschool. It’s when your child starts to recognize letters and sounds.
From birth, babies and children are learning from the world around them. They are learning how to talk. This comes naturally if you talk to them a lot. But reading is not like talking. Learning to read in English is much more difficult.
By the age of two, a toddler age, a child usually begins to talk in one to three word sentences. By the age of four, preschool age, a child is usually clearer and may use more words. By kindergarten and six years old, the average child begins to read words. Some children start early, but most kids start reading by age seven. And usually by age eight, they are reading chapter books.
But English is a hard language to learn because of the rich and diverse history, I think, it has. English has Latin words, Greek words, Germanic words, Nordic Words, Anglican and Saxon words. Our rules are not simple. We have rules and then we have exceptions and more exceptions. Making it a complex language to become PROFICIENT. School barely takes your child to mastery, if that. So it’s up to you to help your child along so he is successful.
Therefore, if you want to instill a love for and interest in reading just read to your child. And, let your child catch YOU reading. Many parents don’t do this, by the way. When you read to your child, you are forming a close bond with your child, and you are also helping your child develop a vast vocabulary and pronunciation skills. If you do this from birth onward, your child will enter kindergarten ready to succeed in the academic world.
From your child’s first word to when he or she forms his or her first sentences to speaking and writing, you’ll see your child develop into a proficient reader. I remember when my son first recognized his ABCs, we were in Houston at a French bakery, and he was 3 years old. And when he first recognized the stop sign and tried to read other signs, it was so very emotional. And I know, I had to add more, and it’s when I joined Usborne, to be able to add to his library and get a little discount here and there.
A nice home library with 200 books plus environment will lay the foundation for reading. Yes! It is all about having books in your home, but not just adult books, children’s literature. In Norway, kids grow up with expansive home libraries and research has it that most Norwegian kids love to read and read well. You don’t need to talk about letters and numbers and words on packages and signs but you can read books about letter and numbers and talk about these when you play with your kids. You should, however, sing nursery rhythms together and let them memorize letters and shapes and numbers. My son had such a great memory at 2, I had him memorize prayers and rhythms. Don’t push him to read if he isn’t ready, let alone push him to write if his or her fine motor skills are weak. Rather, give your child lots of opportunity to strengthen his fine motor skills by doing art, e.g. coloring… just make sure every time he or she holds a crayon, they hold correctly. And please, don’t make your child switch from right or left hand. Let them be comfortable coloring with whatever hand. They usually will switch by kindergarten or by third grade.
You can help your kid see how text is already a part of his or her daily life. Point out the names of things. Show him or her the labels on cars, if their interested in cars. My son was interested in cars at 2 years and new all the names and symbols of all the cars he saw. Show him the different parts of whatever he or she has an interest in.
Play games involving letter and number recognition. When you are at a grocery store, have your kid bring you a yellow item in the produce department, or a green item. Teach your kids his or her colors while your shopping. As they get older, you can have them read the price of each item.
Can your child…
- tell you any of the letters in the supermarket sign?
- read the serving amount on a packaged snack?
Great! Then your child is on his or her way to understanding more about her world — but don’t push. Keep it light. And she will delight. Don’t make things a chore. Or your child will bore and read nevermore. Like my rhythm? Okay… cheesy. LOL
Pay attention to signs of a problem.
If you suspect that your child has a problem, be it vision, or dyslexia, or hearing… Don’t dispare. But, ask your child’s pediatric doctor and they will help you determine if there is a problem. In the preschool years, some kids have speech delays and it is more noticeable than the learning problems that may affect a child’s efforts to read. Just ask your child’s doctor. My child didn’t reach every milestone. He didn’t walk when the average child walked–he walked at 18 month. Had he not walked by 18 months, I would have suspected a problem. Instead, my child was cooing at 2 months of birth and said his first word at 10 months, the age when most kids start crawling. So, don’t freak out! Please.
Most specialists say that you shouldn’t worry about dyslexia until third grade, by then you child should be reading on his or her own. And, if your child has a problem seeing his world, I would wait until second grade. Before second grade, most kids just want to play NOT work. Which is why, I homeschool. Second grade is when most kids will be disciplined for more work. It’s beyond me why government makes it mandatory to start school in first grade. Some signs to look for:
If your 5-year-old…
- can’t “hear” the rhyme in two simple words,
- can’t differentiate between a letter and a random squiggle,
- you may want to keep an eye on it…
Reading Activities for Ages 3-5
1. Fun With Letters
Not all kids enjoy copying words but most kids like tracing stuff… My son started to enjoy copying words in second grade. But I had him learn his name in Kindergarten. I couldn’t get him to do more than 5 minutes of work. Most kids are NOT wired to sit down and do work in kindergarten. They are wired for play. Nevertheless, he would doodle a lot and I used the Usborne Wipe-Clean books to get him to copy letters and numbers and lines and shapes. It was just sooooo much fun! These friendly activity books are perfect for children learning to read and write. “The books all support phonic teaching in schools, and children can wipe and repeat until practice makes perfect.”
The way you encourage your kids to do something is by doing what he or she is interested in. Your child may write letters backwards, spell seemingly randomly, and may hold his marker strangely — it’s “all good” up until the age of 8 when a child is ready to communicate in writing of any kind. My son didn’t start wanting to communicate in writing until recently. DON’T PUSH WRITING until your child is ready for it. This is the last stage in reading. Reading books is more important.
2. What Word Starts With…
By four years of age, most kids start recognizing their letters. At five years of age, they start learning the letter sounds. These are the first steps to learning to read. Then, between 5 and 7 your child will be learning the rules of phonics. As soon as your child wants to read words, you should start with reading dual readers. These are books that allow, you the parent, to read along side the child. It creates a bond. You can play letter games and say favorite words. It generally isn’t until kindergarten that a child starts to read read. Sing nursery rhythms. Play letter puzzles and sound out the letter. My son learned his colors and numbers before he learned his letters, but he could sing the ABC song since he was 2! Once your child learns how to recognize his letters, numbers, and shapes… he is ready for the next phase in learning to read. Begin by reading together books like: Pirate Pat. The Start to Read Pack is perfect for kindergarten.
3. Your Child the Author
Don’t know about you, but my son was chatty at 2! But most kids are chatty by 3 , and by age 4, it can be hard to get a word in edgewise. Take advantage of your child’s interest in talking by letting your kid do some illustrating. Offer a variety of fun art and writing materials to help your child on his road to writing. BUT don’t push writing. It will happen at your child’s pace. My son used to staple, glue, and tape his own few pieces of paper together, and pretend to write words and sentences on each page. Then, he would read his own story to me. And, as he read, I would write out what he said in his book.
4. READING is reading… there is no other way. Just read!
Reading to your child is very important — and if you can help your child by summarizing what you read and then ask him or her questions about the story, it helps them with reading comprehension. The more you read, the more your child will understand when it comes to understand.
Creativity is also a bridge to learning. When your child is creative and curious, he or she can come up with answers to the problems they encounters—like how to build a desk out of cardboard boxes. My son was super creative early on. This helps your child become a thoughtful, inquisitive, and confident learner later on, when they starts school. For more on creativity, visit Zero to 3 at https://www.zerotothree.org/resources/305-learning-to-write-and-draw.
5. Think outside the box
Make learning fun! Kids are tactile and enjoy activities. You can make Play Doh at home or draw them into sand or write on the sidewalk with chalk. I used to make my son color wooden letters and then I would put a big magnet behind them and stick them to the refrigerator. Then next time your out and about, head on over to Hobby Lobby they have inexpensive letters for your kids to play with. Take turns writing letters in the snow, dirt, sidewalk or sand.
6. Just the Facts
Try getting your child interested in non-fiction books. At the library or visit my online bookstore, find books on your child’s favorite topics. Cars, dinosaurs, dogs, animals, and other topics are covered in on-level books with plenty of pictures, designed especially for kids this age. You don’t even have to buy books, get a non-fiction activity book.
Play games online: Teach your Monster to Read
You know, I don’t usually recommend letting very young children under the age of five to play games online. It’s just wrong. Resist. But if you must, the ONLY game I let my son play with is Teach your monster to read. Using your computer, smart phone, or tablet computer should be a special treat for your child. And used sparingly. Try this literacy-building game to turn your child’s fun time into an educational opportunity.
Reading with Highlights
I don’t like e-reading. I read books I can touch to my child. I do buy audio books on CD for my child, too. There are many classic books that your child can either read or have read to him on your kindle. But that is for another blog post. I prefer books on CD for obvious reasons. Resist the temptation to go electronic. So, subscribe your kids to Highlights magazine a literacy building magazine for kids. They are inexpensive and excellent. I grew up on these and I think it helped me fill the gap in my literacy life since I don’t remember being read to. We have these popular titles:
- The Usborne Book of Bible Stories on CD, it’s a dual phonics reader as well.
- Usborne Phonics Reader Ted and Friends on CD, it’s perfect for preschoolers starting to read.
- The Complete Book of Farmyard Tales on CD, and it’s a dual reader, too. This is fun book with beautiful illustrations about Apple Tree Farm.
- The Little Book of Train Stories on CD, has a nice collection of stories for your child to read along.
Plus, you might want to look into “Disney classics,” I love all the old Disney stories and my son loves the Lion King, Zootopia, Peter Pan, The Aristocats and many more… you can find them cheaply on amazon. Get them on audio CD. Call me old fashion. But I just resist the temptation to babysit on electronics. For the love of reading… resist.
Word and Letter on Youtube
To build the sound-letter connection and practice sight words and spelling, try these youtube videos:
- Nelly and Ned Nursery Rhythms are fantastic live videos from Australia. Your kids will learn all their songs and have a fun lesson on reading. She is great for kids 2 to 5.
- Preschool Prep Company is a really good program for teaching your kids letters and sounds. (Just don’t let grandma influence your kids into saying its boring) It teaches the rules of phonics and you can learn along side your child. It’s repetitive and easy for your child to remember. Order the DVD or BlueRay or whatever so you can play them in short snippets.
- Visit my online books store for more early reading books for babies and toddlers.
- Leapfrog videos are just like Preschool Prep Company. It will teach your child phonics, spelling, letter and word identification, vowel and consonant practice, and spelling games. You can stream it on Amazon Prime.
Children’s Learning and Gaming Systems
The two big names in children’s computer games are Leapfrog and VTech. Each offers a variety of options depending on the interests of your child. My son never really got into these toys. And was happy to donate them away. He loves our books. Your children will love whatever you love. So if you would play with it, with him or her, then get them. But you don’t need many toys to entertain. We have plenty of books that will entertain, engage, and inspire a love of learning and reading.
Need more help, contact me at 720.937.4524 and I’d be happy to help you find whatever book or resource you need. Like my business page on Facebook.
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