Secrets of Introducing Preschoolers to Reading

Question: I want to get my two preschoolers involved in reading. Could you please give me some suggestions so that I'll know what I should be doing? - For Reading

Answer: The key to getting young children involved in reading is to get them excited about and interested in reading. You are probably already doing many things that will help your preschoolers to become avid readers.

Many parents wrongly believe that involving preschoolers in reading means trying to teach them how to read before they even reach kindergarten. This approach can backfire and make children reluctant readers, especially if they are being constantly drilled or asked to do endless pages in workbooks. Reading activities need to be fun for preschoolers.

Take the following quiz to reassure yourself that you are on the right track in getting your preschoolers involved with reading. Remember, each child will have his or her own timetable in becoming interested in reading.

Birth to 15 months:

  • Am I showing my children picture books?
  • Do I read stories, poems and rhymes to them?
  • Do I stop reading when my children become restless?

15 months to 2 1/2 years:

  • Do your children have the beginnings of a personal library?
  • Are you encouraging them to pretend to read?
  • Do you select books that your children enjoy?
  • Do you tie ideas in books to things that are familiar to your children?

2 1/2 years to 5 years:

  • Is reading time enjoyable for you and your children?
  • Are you helping your children to identify rhyming words?
  • Have you taught your children what an alphabet letter is?
  • Have you taught your children to identify some of the alphabet letters?
  • When you are reading to them, do you point out letters, like the first letter of their names?
  • Do you encourage your children to retell stories that you have read to them?
  • Are you helping your children learn to recognize some common sight words, such as stop, go, off and on?
  • As you read, do you ask your children questions about the story?