Teaching Your Preschooler to Read and Write
Tips on Helping Your Preschooler Learn ABC Basics
By: Kelby Carr on: Sun 09 of Sep, 2007 [02:40 UTC] (3615 reads)
Preschoolers are at a great stage to begin learning basics for reading and writing, and it can be especially helpful to teach them in the year before they enter kindergarten. Getting a 4-year-old to pay attention can be tough, so here are tips for making the ABCs of reading and writing fun.
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Make Reading and Writing Fun
First of all, if learning to read and write feels like work, your preschooler will fight you. The most important thing you can do is keep things light and entertaining. Look for creative ways to teach your child letters, and keep changing your approaches and methods. Here are a few suggestions:
- Let your child help you make flash cards. Get no-lined index cards. You write the letter to the left, then let your child practice by writing the same letter to the right. It's OK if it looks bad.
- Place sticky notes throughout the house to help your child learn. At first, just use the first letter of the word. Then have them write the letters for the notes. Eventually, work up to notes with the full words. Then you can reinforce it by pointing out the notes whenever you, say, open the refrigerator. "Refrigerator starts with what?"
- Work teaching into conversations. When your child asks for a cookie, ask, "What does cookie start with?" He or she may not know at first, but repetition will help.
- Play the matching game with cards with letters written on the back. This will help your child recognize the difference between letters, is fun to play, and you can work up to asking which letters are in the matched pair.
- Reverse things and let your preschooler teach you. For instance, have her test you on the flash cards. It is fun for the child, and breaks up the tedium of always being the learner.
Praise, Don't Criticize
Preschoolers can be especially hard on themselves. Even if they do poorly, find something positive to day. If they write a letter backwards, for instance, point out they have it correct but just facing the wrong way. If they guess the wrong letter, note that it's a particularly hard letter to learn and practice that specific letter more often.
Make Writing and Reading an Art
Kids love to draw and color. Get lots of sketch paper, and sit with your child to help her write letters and words. Start with a few easy and commonly-used words (like "mom" and "dad") and practice them often.
Your child will get a real boost once he or she can write a particular word on request.
When your child draws a picture, have him or her sign her name.
Keep Teaching Sessions Short
A preschooler will not tolerate half-hour teaching sessions. Expect to work with your child in 10-minute bursts. This is another reason that weaving teaching into everyday conversations and activities is so effective.
Be Consistent in Teaching
Always be thinking of ways to teach letters, whether it's pointing out certain words during a bedtime story or singing the ABC song. The more you repeat and reinforce the basics of reading and writing, the quicker your preschooler will catch on.
Try to have a time of day each day in which you spend at least a couple minutes teaching reading or writing. It can be easy for a child to forget lessons, so teaching just a little bit at a time helps.