Preschool Special Educator
Preschool students need lots of exposure to written and spoken language. Read to your child everyday, point out letters and words while you are shopping, out to dinner, driving around town, any time you encounter the written word. Talk to your child about what is happening around her. Answer the million and one questions she asks you and ask her questions as well. Give your child time to practice writing by giving them crayons and small pencils as well as playdough and legos to strengthen their fine motor skills needed for writing. We use the curriculum Handwriting Without Tears which is a multisensory approach to writing. Start with only capital letters. Most children at this age will most likely learn the letters in their name first. But, at this stage it's more important to teach your preschooler to love books and stories than it is to worry about teaching your child the mechanics of reading. Here are a few things you can do to help your pre-reader get off to a good start:
- Use books to bond- Make reading time special for you and your child. Set up a routine and pick a favorite "book nook" – a comfortable place to read
- Get to know the librarian- Go to the library as often as you can or as often as your child wants to go.
- Talk about the pictures- Words aren't the main attraction for pre-readers. Pick out books with vibrant colors and beautiful pictures, and talk about the illustrations with your child. Ask your child to point to things in the pictures and repeat the words after you, but don't make it a test, make a game out of it.
- Talk about a book as you read it- Even before your child can read, you can start building comprehension skills. Talk with your child about a book: "What do you think this book is about?" "What's he doing in this picture?" "What do you think he'll do next?" This is especially fun when your child has a favorite book and can "predict" what's going to happen.
- When you read to your child, read with expression- Show her that books can come to life. Get silly. Make animal noises.
Most of all have fun. This is how a child, all of us really, learns best. Having fun not only helps your child to learn it creates a bond between you that will be there forever.
Here is a great site where you can print out materials and directions on how to help you help your child learn letter sounds and names. Some of you may see this in your child's folder in the next few weeks. I've also include a Disney video to help teach letters:
Here is another cute Disney video to help your child learn to count to 20: