The ages 3 to 5 are crucial for your child’s reading development. In fact, did you know that from age 3 onwards your child will continue to learn around 5000 new words each year? Yet despite this, the process of teaching your child to start reading is often not straightforward and requires a lot of time and effort. However, with the right plan in place you can help to make your little one into a confident, engaged reader and instil in them a lifelong love of books. With this in mind, here are our top tips on how you can kickstart the process at home.
1. Songs and nursery rhymes
A huge part of learning to read is first learning phonics – the connection between letters and sounds. This is where you can use songs and nursery rhymes to your advantage, as the story language they both use teaches your child to hear the sounds in words. This will be beneficial when they start learning to read later on. On top of this, once children know a song or rhyme off by heart, they will start building up a mental bank of their favourite words.
2. Learning the alphabet
While there is no one way to teach your toddler the alphabet, there are heaps of resources online that can help with the process, such as songs on Youtube, books, toys and flashcards. Something fun and colourful like alphabet fridge magnets are super effective.
A good starting point could be to learn uppercase letters first as they are more distinguishable. For instance, capital ‘B’ and ‘D’ are very different to one another, whereas lowercase ‘b’ and ‘d’ look confusingly similar.
You could also learn the letters in your child’s name to personalise the experience. This will also give you an idea of how your child learns most effectively, and what educational approaches might be best down the line.
3. Read books together
Reading together is perfect for a number of reasons: it allows for lots of bonding time with your little one, whilst also igniting an interest in books and laying the foundations for independent reading later in life. When you are reading aloud to your child, make sure to read expressively and use different voices for different characters.
When you read together, your child will get a better understanding of how the letters they have learned work together to make words. You can get them to identify the letters in a word and encourage them to put them in sequence.
Although this step will take a lot of time for your child to grasp – words are hard work! – it is one of the most valuable ways you can start teaching them to read. How much you read to them is completely up to you, but it’s recommended to spend around 20 minutes each day with a book. Before you know it, storytime will become a part of their daily routine.
Kickstart your child’s reading journey with Little Acorns
Here at Little Acorns Day Nursery, we want to help get your child interested in books by developing their reading skills in a friendly and supportive setting. If you’re looking for more information about our nurseries, please give us a call.