Reading to your child from a young age builds skills that lay the foundation for reading. As you read aloud, your child is learning the concepts of print.
Literacy is a multilayered code with many rules and a consistent structure. Each language has rules for written language. Your child is learning how to use books and the organization of the words on pages. Help your child understand the different types of books and the role of illustrations in a text.
Your child needs to learn how to hold a book.
Caring for books and treating them well can be practiced early on. Show your child that books have covers with pages on the inside. Model how to turn pages with care. Your child should be able to identify the cover of a book and find its title. Help your child look at the pictures and words to make sure the book is right-side up. Kids Academy has curated resources to help with these concepts.
Show your child how to engage with a text by using your finger to show the direction of the words. Can your child follow the text from left to right and then return to the left at the end of a line? Bring the fun to text tracking with fun finger puppets or pointers. Reinforce these skills with these activities from Kids Academy.
Your preschooler is learning letters and sight words. Introduce the structure of a sentence and show the spaces between each word. Explain how these spaces allow each word to stand alone from the others in the sentence. Demonstrate what it would look like if those spaces weren’t there. Incorporate spacing practice in your child’s daily writing routine. Some have found success using popsicle sticks as a spacer after each word.
Allow your child to see that the format of text varies from one to the next. Read narrative texts, poetry, and expository texts. Highlight text features and illustrations.
Your child is beginning to make the connection that meaning is derived from the words on the page. Use picture books to explain how illustrations contribute to meaning as well. Your child can practice using these engaging activities from Kids Academy.
Environmental print is one of your child’s first exposures to text. You may notice your child paying attention to stop signs or signs for their favorite stores and restaurants. Describe the difference between words and logos.
By: Monica Edwards
English Language Arts Teacher, Curriculum Writer