Reading is the goal of most parents with a child in preschool. While your preschooler may not learn to read on their own, you can help them to develop some real reading skills that they can build on. Here is a guide to developing preschool reading skills:
First, read aloud. This is a really important part of helping kids develop reading skills. As you read aloud, ask questions about what you have read, ask the child to guess what is going to happen as the book progresses, ask them to look at the illustrations and how they go with the words, etc. The idea is that while you read the actual words, you help the kids get involved with the story, and participate. As they do so, their comprehension increases, and they become more excited about reading. They will be better prepared for understanding books when they read them on their own.
Next, read poetry to your preschooler. Poetry helps kids with phonemic awareness. It allows them to pay attention to the individual sounds in words, and distinguish between words like “fox” and “box” and how it is really a matter of one letter. As they become more aware of the phonemes or individual sounds, and can isolate them, they are acquiring skills that will be really useful for reading. You can discuss the rhymes as you read the poetry, and play rhyming games to help your child think about sounds.
When teaching kids to read, let them make up their own stories, and listen to you telling stories. This will help them to develop the skills to understand instinctively based on the story, its rhythm, tone, etc. It helps them learn to think ahead, remember stories, and consider their own outcomes.
Next, when trying to teach preschool reading skills, having tons and tons of printed words around is key. The child needs to see the words, the letters, the formation of letters all around them. Have words and pictures on bulletins, etc. Have notes sent home with words on them. Have the child watch you as you read to them for twenty minutes each day. The more they see printed words, the more they realize that printed and spoken words go hand in hand. Also, the more they see written words, the faster they understand how to read, meaning left to right, and top to bottom.
Next, as you help a preschooler develop their reading skills, make sure you focus on the alphabet, individual letters, their two forms (upper and lower case), and the sounds they make. Preschoolers will learn these letters better if you practice them, and let them practice distinguishing between letters.
Have them try writing. They need to bridge the gap of letters making sounds, to those sounds combing to make words. So, give them a chance to try and write, it is critical to reading that they try writing. The two go hand in hand.