Preparing Children to Read

How can I help my son who is in pre-kindergarten get ready to read? -- Preparation Needed

Answer: There are definitely many things that you can do to get your child ready to read. Here is a checklist from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development for parents of preschoolers that you can use to see if you are doing all the necessary things for getting your child on the path to becoming a reader: 

  • -I help my child hear and say the first sound in words and notice when different words start with the same sound.
  • -I help my child hear words that rhyme.
  • -I introduce new words to my child.
  • -I talk with my child about the letters of the alphabet and notice them in books.
  • -I point out signs and labels that have letters, like street signs and foods in the grocery store.
  • -I encourage my child to find joy and fun in reading. Usually, I let my child choose the books we read. --I let my child pretend to read parts of the book when we read together.
  • -I talk with my child about stories and make connections to things that happen in our own lives.
  • -I ask "what," "where" and "how" questions when I read with my child to help him follow along and understand the stories.
  • -I help my child write notes or make books (like an alphabet book), even if his writing only looks like scribbles or marks.
  • -I make reading fun.
  • -I show enthusiasm when reading with my child.
  • -I read often with my child.

The NICHD has a great booklet "A Child Becomes a Reader: Birth Through Preschool" -- available on its website ( Just search for this title.

Remember also to enjoy all types of books with your young child. Introduce him to touch-and-feel books; interactive books; books with interesting language, rhythm and sounds; predictable patterns; and repeated language.