A child who is between the ages of three and five is increasingly beginning to interact with the world around them. Unless they will be homeschooled, most children this age are either preparing to enter or have just entered a formalized education system, such as pre-school or kindergarten. They are also learning how to read and write, which is critical to all their future learning. The child should be given age-appropriate learning activities that encourage learning. Here is how you can set them up for literacy success.
Reading Aloud To Your Child
If you don't want a child who says he "hates to read," you have to introduce him early to books. The child who loves to read learns early that books can open the world to them. Age-appropriate chapter books, in which you read a little bit of the story each day, helps them practice their listening skills, develops their patience, stimulates them to think what might happen, and encourages empathizing with and relating to others.
It can even help them with their continued understanding of time and delayed gratification if you read to them at a certain time each day, such as after dinner or before bedtime. Choose a chapter book on a subject matter that will keep them interested. Children's classics, like Winnie the Pooh or Charlotte's Web are great books to start with. Ask them questions about the story and the characters at the end of each chapter.
In addition to chapter books, you will also want to read short books to your child. These usually have lots of rhyming words and use basic words to start building their vocabulary. The words are generally simple, with only a few printed on each page. Dr. Seuss books have helped to teach tens of thousands of children to read over the years. They are funny, colorful, and do a great job of using repetition to help the child learn.
Read the same few books over and over; the child will eventually be able to "read" it on their own. They may not be yet working out every word, but because you have read it repeatedly, they will quickly learn the basics and be able to "read" it themselves. Then have them "read" the book to you. This will foster their confidence and provide the momentum to move forward.
Using Flash Cards
Flash cards are a great learning activity for teaching beginning sight words. These cards have the word on the front and a picture on the back. Start with the simplest set, with words like baby, dog, and cat, and as they master one set, move up to the next set. Once they have begun to recognize the words by sight, you can have them try to copy the word on paper, duplicating the letters. You can also get flash card sets that encourage learning in specific areas, such as plants or animals. Expand Their Vocabulary
Many parents think they need to talk "baby talk" to their children for them to understand what you are saying. Children are actually able to figure out from content and other verbal or physical cues what an unknown word means. Try to vary your word choices.
For example, set out two different sized blocks. Ask them to hand you the big block. Later, ask them to hand you the large block. Next time, ask them to hand you the enormous block, and so on. This helps them to begin realizing there is more than one way to say things, which will eventually help their reading and writing skills.