Teaching a toddler to read can be intimidating and stressful. But we have the best tips on how to prepare your preschooler to read and make it fun! Check out how you can teach you can successfully teach your toddler to read!
This post is sponsored by Bob Books. All opinions are my own.
How to teach reading skills to your child
It seems like only yesterday that Talie was born! I mean I honestly can’t even believe that she will be 4 in a couple of months and then going to school soon after that! Like most parents, I want to prepare Talie as much as I can to enter Kindergarten which includes teaching her the basics of reading. Preparing your child to read can be challenging, but with these tips, it will prepare your child to read!
But before we share the tips we want to always remember that all kids are different. They learn at different paces and at different times. Just because you had a child that could read early on does not mean that all your kids will (trust me on this one!). And there is nothing wrong with your child if they read later than some. In fact, most kids don’t even begin to read until they are in kindergarten.
The main thing we want to do to prepare your preschooler to read is to develop a love for reading!. This will help develop skills that your child needs so they can learn and grow from them. Fostering a love for reading now will kick start their love for reading for their whole life and will also strengthen your bond with your child.
How to Teach Reading Skills and How to Make Reading Fun
Kids love to have fun, so why not make reading fun? You can even make it a game! There are lots of ways to make reading interesting for your child.
Do things like read a favorite book and leave out a few words (or pause) and wait for your child to fill in the blank. So often we will be reading and when the book talks about a cow, I oink like a pig… I quickly get corrected, but I know Talie is paying attention!
If you’re reading a book they are unfamiliar with, ask them to play fortune teller and predict what will happen next. You can even help them MAKE their own book! I still remember how much fun I had doing that as a kid. It’s always fun to see how their artwork progresses and the funny stories they come up with. Those are always fun things to keep tucked away to save for fun memories when your preschooler gets to adulthood.
Play verbal word games such as I spy, what if, and finish the rhyme. Play with letter names and sounds. Recite rhymes! Ask interactive questions. Point out letters you see in everyday situations, such as a giant A on the side of a truck, or the letter S on the stop sign.
One of my favorite ways to make reading fun is to read in funny voices! Pick a new voice for each character in the book. Make the sounds of the animals that are in the pictures. Try and be as ridiculous as you can! You will have your kids laughing in no time. I’m sure even you will be laughing too!
Go to the Library!
Take your kids to the library. To a preschooler, the library is the coolest place ever! Shelves and shelves of books that they can read and borrow and take home?! What preschooler wouldn’t be excited about this! Many libraries have special incentive programs for kids to earn fun prizes or even fun classes, so definitely take a look. Our favorite thing to go to is story time. Visit the library often!
Perhaps your children (or you) can even meet others there and make some friends. Make the library a happy place where you can all relax and have fun. The best part is that it is free! Just make sure to return the books on time so it stays that way.
Make Reading a Priority
Let’s face it- reading is one of those things that you just can’t avoid. Even if reading books isn’t your thing, you are using your skills right now to reading this! You use your reading skills while driving, shopping, and even watching television. It’s needed everywhere!
The best way to do this is to make reading a priority. Tell them how much you love reading! Show them how much you love reading. Discuss family photo albums, dictate emails or letters to family members, play word games, and encourage imaginative play. Keep writing and drawing materials readily accessible (age appropriate of course- we don’t want a Sharpie incident).
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Making reading a priority can be simple. But it definitely requires effort. Read aloud with them at least once a day, but as often as possible, with the goal being about 15 minutes. Have a variety of different books for them to choose from. Read the books your kids want to hear! Even if it is the 150th time in a row and you don’t even need to look at the pages because you know the story like the back of your hand!
Be an Example
You can hardly expect to prepare your preschooler to read if you don’t show them by example. Instead of sitting there on your phone all of the time pick up a book! Take one with you to wait during appointments, even if you don’t really manage to get to it. Pick up the magazine at the doctor’s office and show interest in the articles and pictures. Visit the library often and check out books for yourself as well! Stop in the book store when you are near one, or even stop in the book aisle at Target when you are there picking up more pull-ups.
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Read to and With Your Child Often
When choosing books to read with your preschooler allow them to choose what they like! Yes, maybe it is another princess book or dinosaur book! But that is ok! They are establishing a love of reading by reading about things they love! Think about it this way if you had no interest in the History of Crockpots and someone made you read it would you enjoy it? Yeah, me either LOL.
Help your preschoolers pick some simple books that they can “read themselves”. We love Bob Readers for learning to read! These books are simple and preschooler-friendly. They have simple sounds and simple concepts to help kids understand reading! All my kids have learned to read thanks to Bob Books.
As you read to your child use your finger as a pointer so they can see where you are at on the page. This will teach them to read from left to right and how you finish one page and go up to the top of the next! Talie loves helping me point out the words on the page!
Talk about it!
One way to get your preschooler interested in reading is by talking about it! Talk about what you read. Talk about what is happening around you as you drive in the car. By encouraging talking it is expanding their vocabulary for reading!
Practicing sounds is important to do! Don’t make this complicated. With Bob Books, practicing sounds is easy to do because each of the books has a letter focus. Every time I see the letter, I make the sound and point to it. This helps my daughter piece things together. While driving talk about what each letter makes and practice saying the sound together!
Have Reasonable Expectations
Reading can be very difficult and frustrating when your child is just starting out (especially if you are pushing them). Don’t expect your preschooler to be reading on their own by the time the school year starts. It’s okay if, despite hours upon hours of reading, your preschooler isn’t able to read a single word or even identify a single letter. It will come!
Be Patient While Preparing Your Preschooler to Read
Unfortunately, we can’t really remember when we were in the process of learning to read. We may be able to pleasantly reflect on a favorite book that was read to us or the funny voices that our dad used to use, but in general, we won’t be able to remember the specifics of what it feels like to be that age. Being a preschooler is hard! They have so much of the world to take in, and we need to be willing to let them. So, just be patient.
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Keep your reading sessions short and try to end on a positive note. Read the books that your child is interested in so they will enjoy it- don’t force the educational books on them if they don’t like them. Read with them whenever they want! Stop what you are doing if they want to read a book. Praise them for any effort they make in showing interest in reading or writing. A bit of recognition goes a long way!
Don’t forget to be patient with yourself! You are doing great. Take little steps, celebrate the successes, and learn from the things that don’t go as well. Remember that every kid is different! Just do your best to make reading fun and attractive. The books will do the rest and for a little extra help grab some beginner Bob reader books to help begin the journey!
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Michele is a Family Life Educator with her degree in marriage and family studies. She is a mom to 5 kids and loves helping others strengthen their families! When she is not blogging she is spending time with her family and running around drinking Diet Coke trying to get everything done!