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An early grasp of basic reading skills can make a world of difference for a child about to start school.
Around the ages of four and five, kids who are exposed to books regularly are likely to start developing essential early reading skills, including phonemic awareness and basic sight word recognition.
Getting your child ‘reading-ready’ for school is a great way to boost their confidence and set them up for future success. Here are eight fun and easy tips:
- Read, read and read! (At least once a day)
You may have heard it a thousand times before, but it’s always worth repeating. If you were to do only one thing from this list, let it be this. Reading to your child on a regular basis is the single most important thing you can do to encourage an early interest in books and reading.
- Sing nursery rhymes
Sure it’s a lot of fun, but did you also know that singing nursery rhymes is a powerful way to build phonemic awareness? Teach your child songs and nursery rhymes and sing them every day – in the morning preparing breakfast, during bath-time or just before bed!
- Put a focus on phonics
Phonics is one of the most important parts of learning to read. In order to become a successful reader, your child will need to understand the relationship between letters and their sounds. A fun idea is to play ‘I Spy the Sound’, where you point out words that begin with a certain sound, rather than a letter.
- Build comprehension skills in fun and interesting ways
Building comprehension skills doesn’t necessarily mean quizzing your child on what you’ve just read. Instead, get creative by helping them role-play the story, draw a picture of key events or come up with an alternative ending!
- Talk about the books you read
Make books a part of everyday life by casually talking about books and sharing ideas on what to read next. Let your child choose their own books and ask them to retell their favourite stories to friends and relatives.
- Choose the right books
Choosing a book that’s appropriate for your child’s reading level is very important – you don’t want to risk discouraging them by picking books that are too ‘boring’ or have too many words they don’t know. A handy hint is to use the Five Finger Rule – open the book to any page and put one finger up for each word they don’t know. A score between one and four is usually a good indicator that the book is just right.
- Learn a few sight words to really boost reading confidence
Sight words are essential for young children to become fluent readers. Children usually aren’t expected to know sight words when they start school, but learning a few beforehand can really boost their confidence. A fun way to teach sight words is through flashcards and using online reading programs like ABC Reading Eggs.
ABC Reading Eggs makes learning to read easy and fun for young kids. Help your child prepare for school by claiming your 4-week free trial now. Offer ends 31 October.