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Reading Readiness for Preschool Children

Updated on August 5, 2008

Reading readiness for children does not mean teaching them the alphabet.

There are a variety of skills that are needed for a child to read successfully and many of them have nothing to do with reading itself.

A child that has a hard time seeing differences in various concrete objects will have a hard time seeing differences in letters themselves.

It makes more sense to work on these issues that are prerequisites to reading before exposing them to the letters of the alphabet themselves.

In this hub I will explain some of the basic skills that children need to be successful readers and in future hubs I will give you more concrete ideas on what to do to enhance many of those needed skills.

Motor Control and Coordination:

Children need to get their fine motor and their gross (or large) motor coordination up to par. Fine motor is usually much more connected to reading and writing than large motor, as a child with poor motor coordination will have a very hard time holding a pencil correctly and even following the words on the page.Large motor skills is also very important.

The occupational therapists today talk about how common it is to have children that are having difficulties with their coordination and so much can be done with this in the reading readiness sphere.

Auditory Discrimination:

If a child can not tell the difference between the sound of a b or a p he will have a hard time when learning to distinguish these letters when reading.

Detecting differences in sound of words:

Children need to be able to discern the differences between words like feathers and sweaters or children and chickens.If there is an awareness that children often get these mixed up then we can work on these skills in a natural setting.

Detecting words that begin with the same consonants

Like little Lucy Locket or Baa Baa Black or Jack and Jill

This type of words are called alliteration and kids have fun thinking of words that have the same consonant.

Hearing first sounds in words

If the kids can relate actual objects to the first sound it makes than that will make reading more concrete for them

Following directions

Even though there are many activities during the day that help children learn to follow directions you can get a free report on a great crafts activity called tray painting that gives a great art activity along with being an excellent direction following activity.

Visual Discrimination

Kids need to be able to see the differences in objects to be able to discern differences in letters.

Recognizing shapes and sizes

Always best to do this during and throughout the day as opposed to making a unit out if. Shapes and sizes are all around us and we can find them all.

Attention span/ visual activities games

Even though attention span usually increases with age, the less T.V. kids watch will certainly help their attention span better.

Left to Right progression

Unless your child is learning Chinese or Hebrew, the alphabet reads from left to right and kids often mix this up in the beginning. It is very normal and there is no reason to panic if the child is writing her name left to right. Various exercises help with this orientation.

Seeing Relationships and Seeing Likenesses and differences

Helps them even more when actually learning the letters and sounds that go together.

Exposure to Reading and the written word

It is very important to write alot with children in clear legible manuscript . You can write many things the children tell you. Their names, stories, store lists etc. Children learn that reading is talk written down and the more exposure to the written word the more they want to read it on their own.

If you are a teacher or a parent of preschoolers you may want to check out my blog Preschool Musings. It is a new blog for teachers and homeschoolers of preschoolers that gives lots of preschool curriculum ideas.

Some of the ideas may only work in the classroom but there are and will be many more ideas for the homeschooling parents of the preschooler and even moms that just want to learn about activities for after school.


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    • profile image

      Meeghan Mousaw 4 years ago

      Thanks! There is a great (free) reading readiness test I found on this website:

    • faigekobre profile image

      faigekobre 9 years ago from NY

      You should probably be reading to him on a daily basis. There is nothing that builds vocabulary better and faster than good childrens literature. The alphabet will come in time.

    • wannabwestern profile image

      Carolyn Augustine 9 years ago from The Land of Tractors

      I recently discovered the songs of Hap Palmer--I'm using them with my speech delayed son. He can recognize most of the letters at age 27 months but we are still working on helping him build his vocabulary and several of the other areas, too. Learning his alphabet has given him greater confidence, though, and is encouraging him to try talking and using words instead of gestures. This is another excellent, well-informed hub.