Reading and a love of books are a priceless skill that will benefit our children. They are also an effective alternative to television. Here we would like to share some tips on how you can help your child in the early years, to get ready to read.
First, we suggest you read our tips on helping children between the ages of 2 and 4 learn to talk. Those tips on talking are extremely useful for reading also.
To help children between the ages of 2 and 4 (pre-schoolers) read:
- Read books which have good stories to teach social skills, environmental awareness, simple facts, history etc. Buy books which have a lot of pictures
- Keep reading to your child. Sometimes he may want to read the same book over and over again. Indulge him but keep adding other books into the mix
- In many stories, there will be situations where you can stop and ask your child questions. Use these opportunities.
- Write your child's name and show it to him often. This maybe the first word he learns.
- Children will start learning about how letters sound. You can help them by making the sounds each alphabet makes (Phonetics). Children start to read by breaking down a word into the letters and then putting the sounds of each letter back together. So understanding the sound that each letter makes is a critical learning.
- To teach phonetics you can use a book that has a page for each alphabet. On each page, you will find many objects and words that start with that letter. This can help children learn the sound the alphabet makes.
- Reading and writing go hand-in-hand. Children will try to write letters but they may end up more like scribbles. Encourage them in their pursuits.
- Play the "I Spy" game with your children especially when you are outside. Look around you. Find some prominent alphabets and letters in the boards nearby and ask your child to find them.
- Ask your child to read the letters of words they see, especially when you travel. Do this once in a while so they don't get bored and don't force them to do it.
- Play the "...starts with the letter" game. Say a word and ask your child to guess the first letter of the word. Initially you may have to help him by make the first sound from the word a few times and then let him name the alphabet. Soon, he will not need your help.
- Play simple games with your child where you take turns naming all the different things that belong in a group. For example, play the fruit game where each person keeps naming a fruit. Similarly, play the vegetable game, the animal game, the car game (names of cars makers), the animated character game (from good television shows like Dora, Galli Galli Sim Sim etc.,). This helps them vocalise different sounds and lets them show off their vocabulary.
Look through our Reviews to find books that are highly recommended by other parents.
Different children develop reading abilities at different times. Every child is unique. These tips can help them develop this skill by providing an enabling environment. If you feel that your child is falling behind in language development, talk to your paediatrician. Sometimes, delayed language development may point to a different problem.