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2-26-00 Question 10

Dear Preschool Teacher,
    I am a student at Urbana high school. My friends and I are working on a report for child development, we would like to know some ways that are good for teaching preschoolers how to read, if you could give us some ideas that would be great thank you.
Teaching to Read

Dear Learning to Read,
    First off I must say to you, at the preschool age you do not teach preschoolers to read per say. That is not appropriate for there age. But what you can do is teach then pre reading skills. The "Ask the Preschool Teacher" Staff has some great suggestions for you below.
Good Luck to you,
The Preschool Teacher

Dear Teaching To Read,
    You did not say what age you are doing your child development on, so I am guessing, ages 3 through 5.  Playing is the key to learning. They learn as they play.  Did you know the foundation for language skills for a child is learned in their first five years of life?  Parents should be reading to their children, the more words a child hears depends on what kind of reader he/she will be. Social and emotional development is one of the most important tools a child can learn and development in the preschool year.  If they are successful in this area, academics will come in kindergarten and first grade.  Parents are trying to push their kids these days to much. They should let them be kids and enjoy life and have fun.  This is how I feel
about teaching a child to read in the preschool years.  I hope that this will help you in our report in child development.

"Ask the Preschool Teacher" Staff member

Dear Teaching to Read,
    Hi!  I think the best way to help develop pre-reading skills is to provide a "print-rich" environment.  This means, labeling things in the classroom (i.e.: clock, chalk board, sink, etc.)  I write the words in lower case letters (most words they encounter in books are in lower case letters) and stick them to the item using clear packaging tape, this seals the label and prevents it from smudging from sticky wet fingers!
You can label all centers, too. 

I also make a name tag for each child and laminate.  I use the nametags for fun games like "who's name is this?" during circle - the children guess and the person who's name it is stands up.  I also use the name tags when setting the table for snack and lunch and have the children find their names before they sit down.  (Move them around every few days.)  I am always amazed at how quickly children learn not only to recognize their own names, but also the names of their peers.  I've even made a matching game, where children pair up name tags with the Polaroid picture of their peers. 

You can also help students by writing on chart paper when brain storming lists together, making graphs, reciting poems, etc.  This helps them to see that ideas can be recorded on paper.  You can also point out the sounds of certain letters, but make it fun (the letter "S" ssssounds like a sssssnake, and looks like one, too!)

Most important - READ BOOKS TO THEM SEVERAL TIMES DURING THE DAY!  Repeat the same books over and over. A great book to read is "Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See?"  Books such as this have a repetitive pattern.  Soon they'll be "reading" it to you! Provide books on tape for students to listen to and attempt to follow along during learning centers.  (use headphones.)

Make class books based on repetitive books you've read to them.  Have them dictate their page, bind, and read often to the group.  They can also take turns bringing
the class books home, and hopefully parents will reinforce what you're doing by reading it several times that night.

After trying these ideas, children WILL begin to recognize certain words!

These are ideas that I use to encourage a love of reading and an awareness of words representing everything in their world. 
"Ask the Preschool Teacher" staff member

Dear Teaching to Read,
    My son was 4 when he began reading books.  I know from personal experience that once he was able to know the sound of each letter, he could put the sounds together to form words.  To this day he can sound out just about any word.  I also have a 4 year old in my preschool class who is great at sounding out words and is on the verge of reading.  I really think phonics is important, and I'm glad to see that the teaching of phonics is coming back.
"Ask the Preschool Teacher" staff member

Note: Please remember this is not the case with all 4 year old.

Dear Teaching to Read,
     I agree with a strong vote for phonics. However, I also believe in including other methods, such as labeling and word cards. I also have found good success in word building and rhyming, where the kids create the word list together and then 'read' it.  Like everything in child development, when the individual child is ready, the child learns ;o)
"Ask the Preschool Teacher" staff member

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