As parents and teachers we never want learning to read to become a chore. Teaching young children to read should be filled with fun, meaningful, and hands-on activities.
Did you know the optimal window for learning in children is between the ages of 2-6? Children do their most complex learning during this period of time – learning skills that they will use for the rest of their lives (i.e.: eating, walking, and talking). Teaching reading skills during this window of time can make a big impact, and help eliminate many reading difficulties children experience later in life.
To teach reading to such young children it is important to have a balanced approach, which includes focusing on: comprehension, vocabulary, phonemic awareness, phonics, and fluency.
Comprehension – Can your child understand and remember what they read.
Vocabulary – For beginning readers the focus here is on sight words. Sight words are the most common words in our written language and often do not sound out well or follow typical phonics rules.
Phonemic awareness – The ability to hear individual sounds, recognize them, and manipulate them within words. The focus is only on sounds here, not written symbols.
Phonics – Learning to associate sounds with written language.
Fluency – This refers to the speed, accuracy, ease, and inflection used when reading. The more your child reads, the more fluent they will become.
The following list activities focus on these five important skills, while managing to be fun at the same time – perfect for beginning readers!