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Best Ways To Develop Pre-Reading Skills In Preschoolers And Kids

Do you know that you can help your little one to gain some pre-reading skills when they are just an infant! Yes, that’s right! Teaching your child to read does not necessarily start when they enter school. Teaching these pre-reading skills before children reach school makes reading a successful experience for them.


Want to learn more about pre-reading skills, its importance for children, and some activities to teach children these pre-reading skills?


Let’s get started!

What Is Pre-Reading?

Pre-reading skills for the preschoolers are the skills kids need to help them become a reader. Many of these pre-reading skills are learnt naturally during a normal childhood. But some of these pre-reading skills need to be taught to children by talking to and reading with them.


Importance Of Developing Pre-Reading Skills In Young Kids

Below are the points on the importance of developing pre-reading skills for 3 year olds:

  • It increases phonological awareness.
  • It enhances the ability to read and understand.
  • It helps in language development.
  • It encourages imagination.
  • It gives a chance to have a more positive association with books.

What Are The Main Pre-Reading Skills?

Here are the main pre-reading skills for children:

1. Vocabulary

Also known as a child’s oral language, vocabulary means that your child knows the name of things and connect them to ideas, feelings, objects, etc.


2. Print Motivation

It is known as print motivation when a child is excited and interested in reading books.

3. Print Awareness

When a child knows how to hold a book, turn pages the right way, notice the print and understand that the print has functions and that the print on the page is the words, this is known as print awareness.


4. Narrative Skills

When a child can describe things and explain the story events, this is known as narrative skills.

5. Phonological Awareness

When a child can hear the sound of the words and play with those individual sounds, this is known as phonological awareness.


6. Letter Knowledge

When a child can understand the letters, know their names and sounds, and differentiate between them, this is known as letter knowledge.

10 Simple Activities To Teach Your Kids Pre-Reading Skills

Here are some fun, entertaining activities to teach your kids pre-reading skills.


1. Story Time

Show your child a random picture and tell them a story related to it. Now show them another picture and ask them to come up with a story related to that picture. You can use anything as a picture, like a family photograph or an image in a newspaper. Ask your child to name the characters, what they are doing, etc.

Skills Mastered: Narrative Skill & Vocabulary.


2. Label And Teach

Label your little one’s toys and everyday items. Make sure to have two sets of these labels. Attach one to their items and give the second to your child. Don’t force your child to look for and match them. Let your child make the connection on their own. Your child will recognise the words from seeing them around.

Skills Mastered: Print Awareness & Vocabulary

3. Rhyming Words Game

This makes for a great family game. Start by saying a word, and the next person have to come up with its rhyming word. The rhyming words can even include words that don’t make any sense. The game continues till you are out of rhyming words.

Skills Mastered: Phonological Awareness & Vocabulary

4. Read To Your Kid

Read to your child every day. You can ask your kid to pick a book they want you to read. Make reading to them a habit, and they will slowly embrace this habit. Reading to your child regularly will also strengthen your bond with them.

Skills Mastered: Print Motivation & Vocabulary

5. Alphabet Rhyme

Everything sounds simple and easy to learn when it’s musical. Teach your kids letters with the help of alphabet rhymes given below:

1. “A” you’re adorable
“B” you’re so beautiful
“C” you’re so cute and full of charm.
“D” you’re a darling and “E” you’re exciting
“F” you’re a feather in my arms

“G” you’re so good to me
“H” you’re so heavenly
“I” you’re the one I idoliseidolise
“J” we’re like Jack and Jill
“K” you’re so kissable,
“L” is the love light in my eyes.

“M” – “N” – “O” – “P” I could go on all day
“Q” – “R” – “S” – “T” alphabetically speaking, you’re OK

“U” made my life complete
“V” means you’re very sweet,
“W” – “X” – “Y” – “Z”…

It’s fun to wander through the alphabet with you
To tell you what you mean to me!

2. Says A,
give me a good large slice!
Says B,
a little bit, but nice.
Says C,
cut me a piece of crust.
Take it, says D,
it’s dry as dust!
Says E, I’ll eat it fast,
I will, Says F,
I vow I’ll have my fill!
Says G,
give it me good and great.
Says H,
a little bit I hate.
Says I,
it’s ice I must request.
Says J,
the juice I love the best.
Says K,
let’s keep it up above.
Says L,
the border’s what I love.
Says M,
it makes your teeth to chatter.
N said, it’s nice,
there’s nought the matter.
O others’ plates with grief surveyed.
P for a large piece begged and prayed.
Q quarrelled for the topmost slice.
R rubbed his hands and said “it’s nice”.
S silent sat,
and simply looked.
T thought,
and said, it’s nicely cooked!
U understood the fruit was cherry.
V vanished when they all got merry.
W wished there’d been a quince in.
X here explained,
he’d need convincing.
Y said, I’ll eat,
and yield to none.
Z, like a zany,
said he’d done.
While ampersand purloined the dish,
And for another pie did wish.

Skills Mastered: Letter Knowledge & Vocabulary

6. Sequence It

Buy two same story books (preferably one with pictures), and read one of them to your child. Take out the pages of the second book and shuffle them. Now, give these pages to your kid and ask them to arrange it in the order of the story. Once they are done sequencing it, ask them to re-tell the story using these pages.

Skills Mastered: Letters Skills & Vocabulary

7. Strike-Off The Words

Write some words from the text you will read to your child on a sheet of paper. Now, give this sheet to your kid and ask them to listen carefully when you read. They have to strike off the words they hear. This is a great activity on pre-reading skills for 4 year olds.

Skills Mastered: Vocabulary

8. Guess The Letter

In this game, you will draw a thing related to any letter, and your child will have to guess the letter. For example, you can draw Kite for the letter K, Egg for the letter E, and so on.

Skill Mastered: Letter Knowledge & Vocabulary

9. Animal Sounds

Make your child hear some animal sounds. Now teach your child that letters too have an individual sound. For example, the letter x has the sound ‘eks’.

Skill Mastered: Phonological Awareness

10. Letter Game

Take a bucket and fill it with flour. Add plastic letters to it. On a sheet, write each letter and ask your child to find the corresponding letter in the flour and match it with the letter on the paper.

Skills Mastered: Letter Knowledge

Also Read:

Teaching Your Child How to Read
Picture Books for Children to Develop Reading Skills
How Reading Aloud Helps Improve Vocabulary for Children

Shraddha Mishra
Writer, journalist and content creator, she has worked across several publications. She takes a keen interest in travel, food and culture. A new mother, she loves talking about her parenting journey and watching her toddler play, learn and grow. When not working, you will find her watching a movie or web series, or reading a novel, chasing a good story everywhere.
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