Children at the preschool age are full of curiosity and wonder. You may find your child mimicking you or repeating things you say as they expand their knowledge of their world. Preschoolers love to read, write, act, build, and many other types of activities that increase their cognitive skills as well as their reading and writing foundations. Not all children will be at the same place in their level of development, and there are a few things you can do to promote early reading and writing skills to better help your child prepare for their future.
Early writing may be nothing more than scribbles on a paper that hang on your refrigerator for all to see. However, these scribbles and markings are the beginnings of early writing skills. One of the first things you can do is guide the writing from left to right. Directionality is one of the first key steps to building a young child’s writing foundation. A fun rhyme to teach could be “when we read and write, it goes from left to right!”
The next key foundation step to preschoolers and writing is the learning of the alphabet. The alphabet helps in both worlds because the children learn to associate the written letter with the sound. This concept is called the alphabetic principle. These letters can eventually be turned into words and sentences as the child learns to combine the sounds on written paper into dialogue. Writing the letters and learning the sounds that go with each are crucial to later reading successes.
The sounds that are learned with each letter can also prepare your child to read. To enhance your child’s vocabulary and reading skills, try identifying everything by a name. For example, if a car drives past you can point out that it is a car, the color of the vehicle, that it has round wheels, etc. Repetition is also beneficial for new and young readers, so don’t hesitate to read your child’s favorite book they have handed you for the millionth time. These simple tips can help develop and enhance your preschoolers reading development.
Young children should be encouraged to draw and scribble to their heart’s content. Later, they begin to understand that these shapes can be transformed into letters. Random letters and shapes can be expected at first because the child has not yet learned the sounds that accompany them to make coherent letters, words, and sentences. Allowing your child to scribble while guiding them in directionality and learning the alphabet will increase the chances of their success for early reading and writing efforts.
Michelle Dell’Aquila, M.A. is a licensed child therapist who is currently the director of CDA, a program geared for infants to 5-year-olds providing developmental assessments, advice to parents at home and for teachers in schools.