A. Read to your child every day ~ 15 minutes each day! There is much research on the importance of reading aloud. Show that reading is FUN! Talk about the pictures, events, favorite parts. Reading aloud will expose your child to new words, ideas, places, events, and more complex plots and sentences than beginning reading books have to offer. Anotherwords, if your child is learning to read he/she can read those books. YOU, however, should be reading more difficult picture books to your child, such as the child’s library books.
Top 10 reasons why you should read aloud to your child:
1. Your child will feel the love and attention. Cuddle up together in a special spot and make this time special.
2. It encourages your child to become a reader/better reader when the parent acts as a role model.
3. Listening to stories develops attention spans.
4. Books help imaginations SOAR!
5. The illustrations will help your child appreciate art.
6. Books pass on parental values.
7. Books are fun!
8. Listening to a story read aloud well is magical to a child.
9. This time with your child will create a lifetime of memories.
10. Every teacher and librarian will thank you!
It is okay to reread your child’s favorite books over and over.
B. Teach your child the names of the letters of the alphabet. Play games of matching the lower case letter to the upper case letter and visa versa. Teach the sounds of the letters. We use Lively Letters at the Northeast Elementary School. See “L” below for the Lively Letter sequence.
C. Teach your child how to write his/her name properly ~ using an upper case letter only at the beginning. The other letters should be lower case. Teach that letters start from the top down ~ be sure your child is forming letters correctly so not to have him/her develop bad habits. FOLLOW THE CHART BELOW. Children should write with a small golf pencil, not a fat preschool pencil. http://www.wilsonsd.org/cms/lib01/PA01000270/Centricity/Domain/519/Copy_of_hWT_chart.jpg
The following letters are all formed like the letter c: a, c, d, e (somewhat), g, o, q. Time and time again I see children forming these letters incorrectly. The following is from the Handwriting Without Tears website:
The Handwriting Without Tears® developmental teaching order helps children master handwriting skills in the easiest, most efficient way. As a result, children can transition quickly from learning the mechanics of handwriting to focusing on content and meaning—in all subjects.
Capital Teaching Order
Developmentally, capitals are easier so we teach them first. The capital teaching order helps teach correct formation and orientation while eliminating reversals. Learning capitals first makes it easy to transition to lowercase letters.
Lowercase Teaching Order
D. Point out words seen around the home and neighborhood, such as those on cereal boxes and signs. Children will learn to read the words they see frequently around them.
E. Expose your child to many different places, activities, and events. Children who know a lot about different things will have an easier time reading.
F. Sit down with your child and practice telling stories about something that happened recently. Write these stories on paper in a simple way (large print/short sentences/basic words) and have your child practice reading them with you.
G. Encourage your child to read. One way your child can read today on his/her own is to “read the pictures.” If the book is familiar have your child retell the book using the pictures.
H. Make reading and learning a family event. Model that YOU are a reader, and provide your child with many books and magazines of his/her interest to read as YOU read.
I. Check out this preschool website which has fun, practical activities addressing preschool skills such as coordination, listening, thinking, social skills, and more! http://www.preschoolexpress.com/skill_station.shtml
J. Starfall is a great free website from learning ABCs to beginning reading skills! http://www.starfall.com/
K. Do the Phonemic Awareness activities: http://www.mrsjudyaraujo.com/phonemic-awareness-for-prek-k-and-1/
L. Teach letter sounds using the Lively Letter sequence. Lively Letters starts with letters p/b:
The following letters in red are taught in pairs ~ the unvoiced and the voiced partner. When saying the unvoiced, feel the puff of air coming out of your mouth. While saying the voiced, feel the vibration in your throat.
First teach: p, b t, d f, v k, g (hard g as in gas), qu, 2 sounds of th (th as in this, th as in thought), short a as in apple (See purple * below for blending information.)
Next teach: short o as in octopus, m, n (m and n are interesting ~ try saying these sounds while pinching your nose ~ you can’t!), l, r (See purple * below. It explains to blend short a and o with p, b, t, d, f, v, k, g, m, n, l, and r, for ex. ro, ba, ot, af. The vowels have the short sound. Have your child practice reading these.)
Then teach: short u as in up, s, z, sh, ch (ch as in chicken, not chef or Christmas), j (See * below.)
Next teach: short i as in the word in, w, wh (wh makes the same sound as w), h, x (at end of words only as in fox), y (at beginning of words only as in yellow)
After that teach: short e as in elephant
Finally teach: the magic e (Lively Letters calls the magic e King Ed ~ he comes at the end of CVC words to make them CVCe words, changing mad to made, for example), 2 sounds of oo (as in boot and book), ou/ow (makes same sound), au/aw (makes same sound), oi/oy (makes same sound), er/ir/ur (makes same sound as in “her bird burps”), ar, or, 2 sounds of c (as in can and city), other vowel pairs. (I, personally, don’t teach the zh card. I teach ng by attaching the vowel: sang, sing, song, sung. There’s also nk: sank, sink, sunk.)
* Once you’ve taught short a, start teaching VC or CV words ~ real and nonsense ~ so the child can practice blending sounds into words, such as ap, ba, ta, ad ~ do this with all of the short vowels as you teach the short vowels and single consonants.
*CVC ~ real and nonsense ~ write down “consonant vowel consonant” words for your child to read ~ fiv, pob, duf, kag, sez, etc. In kindergarten and grade 1, children are tested in these nonsense words ~ how many can they read in one minute?
* CVCe ~ real and nonsense ~ like, bote, zute, etc.
* CCVC and CVCC ~ real and nonsense short vowel words with blends ~ spot, list, pred, hosp, etc.
* CCVCC, CCCVCCC ~ bland, splints, scronst ~ real and nonsense, all short vowel
* Multisyllable words and words with vowel teams, such as ai, oa. . . . This comes later in grade 1.
Remember, success at learning is one of the best ways to assure good feelings about learning! Keep home practice positive.
An excellent FREE reading readiness test can be found at:
In case these links don’t work, Google AASSA Emergent Literacy Project Reading Readiness Assessment. You will need to download the Student Stimulus Book and the Recording Book.
Some information came from the 1991 Slosson Educational Publications Slosson Test of Reading Readiness .
Lively Letter images were found on Yahoo Images. View You Tubes of the Lively Letters in action!