As the end of the year nears, we see many parents of preschool children starting to worry about their child starting school – Are they ready? Will they cope? How can I help to prepare them?
The honest answer is, all children are different. Some will be more than ready, while others will need more encouragement and time spent to prepare them accordingly. One thing that is guaranteed to help prepare your child for school is reading. Whether that be with, or to your child - every day.
Reading with your child helps to build literacy skills. We recommend 20 minutes of reading every day, and most primary schools stick to the same recommendation.
So how can you help your child build their literacy skills when reading with them?
1. Print Reference:
- Make reference to the printed words by physically pointing them out – things like: "see how the word dog starts with the sound d."
- Use fingers to follow along with the words as you read. "see how I read from left to right."
2. Give everything a name:
- Build your child's vocabulary by talking about interesting words and objects. For example, "Look at that airplane! Those are the wings of the plane. Why do you think they are called wings?"
3. Image reference:
- Use the pictures on the page to help the child understand the story.
- Refer to the pictures and talk about what is happening in the image with your child
4. Make reading a warm and loving experience:
- Cuddle into your child, and make a connection while reading. Reading will soon become a favourite part of the day to snuggle in close and read a book.
- Use a light, fun tone in your voice when you read.
Such a little shift in your reading routine could change your child's literacy horizons – and make starting school that much easier.