Literacy milestones pre-school
Encouraging a love of reading is one of the best gifts you can give your child as well as starting them down the path to academic success. Children who are not yet at school are developing their reading readiness skills which will allow them to develop later reading strategies with confidence.
Literacy skills you can expect of your pre-kinder child
The technical term for this process is phonological awareness and is an oral activity. Phonological awareness is the ability to hear sounds in words and well as listening to how sounds change. Children who are developing this skill are able to identify and understand simple rhymes. A child may know that ‘mice’ and ‘ice’ sound the same and mice is different because it starts with an ‘m’. Dr Seuss books are a wonderful way to support your child’s phonological development.
Children of this age are proudly learning to recite their ABCs. The more letters she can recognise during this stage of development the easier she'll be able to relate sounds to them in the first year of school. Pre-kinders are learning to recognise the shapes of letters too, the letters in their own name and may be able to tell you the sound a word begins with.
Children need endless opportunities to handle books themselves. This need not be expensive. Register with your local library and let your child choose their own books to bring home. Encourage them to look at fiction and non- fiction books.
Children of this age are learning that we read the words and not the pictures. Ask your child to point to what you are looking at that tells you the story. If your child seems unsure finger point to each word or let them feel in control and allow them to finger point. Children are also learning that what is in print relates to what we hear and what is spoken. Children at this age love to read the same familiar text over and over which is a natural stage of development and should be encouraged.
Model for your child how to hold a book and read from left to right. If your culture reads from the right side of the page then highlight to children that other cultures read from the left side and that they will be learning to read from the left at school.
An effective reader not only decodes (sounds out) what they read but they can understand what the words mean. This can be supported for pre-kinders by teaching them the purpose of written words. Pre-kinders are often asking “Why?” so channel this natural curiosity into something productive. Talk about the purpose of a shopping list, a birthday invitation, a bedtime story and a newspaper headline.
Environmental print is the print of everyday life. When we look at a billboard, newspaper, junk mail, calendar, menu, poster or advertisement we are looking at environmental print. Most pre-kinders can recognise the M of the golden arches from miles away and approximately 85 % of 3 year olds know the word STOP from signs.
Environmental print is of immense value because kids are already ‘reading’ it within the routines of their everyday life. It is the natural starting point and bridges the gap between the formal, functional reading your child will do at school and the reading of their home life.
Pre-kinder children are learning the sounds of speech
Pre-kinders are learning letter recognition
Your pre-kinder is becoming familiar with print and books
Pre-kinders are learning the purpose of texts
Pre-kinders are using environmental print
Reading to your pre-schooler
Pre-schoolers are learning simple comprehension. As a parent you not only want to encourage your child to learn about letters and sounds but also for them to understand what they are listening to. Reading comprehension leads to higher motivation to continue reading or being read to.
When you are reading aloud to your child wonder out loud. Talk about what you predict will happen next or how you think the character is feeling. Talk about the setting (where the story occurs) and why the story is happening there. Ask them to guess how the story will end and then compare once you have read the story
Reading development begins with the social interactions that happen between yourself and your child as you share books with them. Spend 5-10 minutes reading with your child each day! !
This article was written by Michelle Barrington for Kidspot, New Zealand's leading education resource for parents. Michelle is a teacher and mother of a toddler who blogs at Gee, You're Brave.