One of the main challenges of preschool is developing pre-reading skills so that when the time comes, children can succeed at reading. What are pre-reading skills? Letter recognition can be accomplished by seeing, hearing, and beginning writing of the alphabet. How about “A is for apple, B is for bear, C is for….?” Talking to your child about everyday objects and what letter they begin with is an easy way to work on letter recognition.
Reading to your child will also help them understand that text is read from left to right, and books are full of pages that need to be turned, etc. Phonemic awareness is another important skill, which just means learning which letters make which sounds. Learning about words that rhyme is also a great idea and helps kids understand letters and their sounds. Nursery rhymes and silly children’s songs are great!
When your child gets a little older, you can begin teaching phonics. There are many phonics programs on the market, or you can design your own. The idea is to make the it automatic in a child’s brain to see or hear a certain sound or letter and be able to piece those bits together into a word. In other words, teaching phonics teaches decoding skills. Suddenly, that jumble of letters on the page makes sense to a child, and then the world of books opens to them!