6 Tips To Enhance The Pre-Reading Skills In Your Toddler


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Some of the earliest memories of your childhood are probably listening aloud to stories by your mother. You may have loved listening to them, or enjoyed reading them yourselves. Now as a parent, it’s your turn to let your child enjoy the same experience.

Studies have proven that children can benefit from your reading aloud from the time they are born. However, there is a difference between benefitting from your reading out and being able to read themselves.

How To Begin The Process Teaching Toddlers to Read:

While you may try hard and wait for the first signal, is it actually possible to teach your toddler to read? The fact is it is not.

By the term ‘reading’ here we mean the ability to string together different letters and form words, then sentences.

Normally, the ability to read comes later, around the age of four or five. As toddlers, most kids are yet to form the required neural connections that help decipher letters and combine them to form words. This is the age when you can start encouraging your toddler to learn the basics of reading.

Developing Pre-Reading Skills In A Toddler:

Reading during the toddler years is more like a form of decoding. If you are trying hard to make your child read at this age, it is time to stop. Instead, you can help your toddler in some other ways that will build up interest and make toddler reading list easier eventually.

A great way to do so is by trying out the indirect instruction method.

Indirect Instruction

Indirect instruction involves strategies that make reading exciting and intriguing to captivate your child’s interest. You can do this by reading out loud to your child.

  • Babies enjoy looking at picture books as early as six months.
  • Toddlers between 1 and 2 years respond to rhyme and repetitive books.
  • Older toddlers will enjoy picture books with some texts and simple story lines.

Little understanding, loads of patience and an experimenting attitude will help to interest your child towards reading. The following points can help:

  • Let your child love the feel of books.
  • There are many methods and strategies on how to teach reading to toddlers. Give each of these enough time.
  • Toddlers have a short attention span. Be patient.

Six Tips to Enhance the Pre-Reading Skills:

Using the following steps, you can increase your child’s interest in books and words. This will gradually help them in reading.

1. Accessibility:

Kids explore by playing. Let some books be accessible where she can play, doodle and even suck or chew a book.

2. Associating And Connecting:

Kids learn to connect by association. If there is a picture of a dog mention a dog she knows. Say whether that dog is big or small. Let her compare with a dog she knows. This will help her to make connections.

3. Bonding:

Reading is a perfect bonding time for parents and kids. Hold the book at a comfortable level and point the picture while pronouncing the name. As your child sits snuggles with you, sharing a book will become a pleasurable activity.

4. Choose Right:

Toddlers enjoy looking at colourful pictures. Select books with different textures so that your kid can explore it through touching.

For older toddlers choose slightly complicated picture books on toddler-friendly subjects. Choose from animals, birds or vehicles or toddler activities that your child relates easily.

5. Rhyming/Singing:

Toddlers may not be able to read, but they memorize well. This is the time to introduce nursery rhymes. Varying the rhythm and pitch of your voice makes reading enjoyable. Your child might clap, scream, laugh or mimic. Join in and let story time be full of action.

6. Alphabet Post-Cards:

Cut out colourful sheets and paint the alphabets with a corresponding colour. Create two sets of each letter in the same colour and put them separately in two baskets. Hold out one post card and ask your kid to search for the same from another basket. This will help your child recognize the letters with colours initially. You can later shift to pictures and teach them to identify using the picture.

The ability to read varies from child to child. Some children are early readers while some take longer. As a parent, it is important to remember here that each child is different. Guide your child gently towards reading. Adopting a positive and tolerant attitude will make her a confident reader. Happy reading!

Don’t forget to share your ideas and experiences on teaching toddlers to read in the comment section given below:

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