Do you feel guilty that you haven't bought your child an expensive phonics kit or the latest reading system? Is your home missing the stack of $20 "educational" DVD's that you see at friends' homes? Are electronic books NOT on your shelves?
Well, don't fear. Teaching a child pre-reading, reading readiness, and beginning reading skills isn't about buying electronic gizmos that make noise, flash images, sing songs, or mis-pronounce some of the words.
Who am I to tell anyone anything about reading you ask? I'm a teacher (I've taught special education, science, and language arts at the middle school level) and I'm in the last semester of my post-master's graduate program to become a licensed reading specialist. Most importantly, I am mom to two four-year-old girls who are my test subjects for all the ideas I'll share here.
I'm operating under the premise that you want your child to enjoy reading and be ready for reading when he or she is developmentally ready. That being said, there are many free or low-cost activities you can do at home to help your child. Each week, I'll post one or two fun activities for moms and preschoolers to do together that will focus on an area of pre-reading skills. I'll try to incorporate video and photography to help.
Today's idea is a quickie since this is the first post. If your child's name starts with a simple sound (if not, see below) then identify your child's "special letter." Try to name the "special letters" for all the members of your family. Children already know the sounds that start the names, so now you are associating that sound with a particular letter.
By the way, it is not necessary to address the fact that some letters have more than one sound right away. So, if your child's name is Abby, then A makes the short a sound. If your child's name is Abel, than A makes the long a sound. Enough said. Explain more complex concepts as your child matures. If you have a George, then teach the soft G sound first, then move on to the idea that G can also make the hard sound (as in game) later.
*This can get tricky if you have a name that starts with a more advanced sound, for example, my girls have a friend named Chelsea. The sound "ch" is called a digraph by reading teachers. Chelsea's mom will need to address the idea that her name starts with two letters that make a special sound together.
I hope this will prove helpful, I welcome comments and suggestions for activities you're doing to help your child with reading readiness!