Teaching young children to read is such an exciting part of early childhood education!
Learning to love reading and value books starts way before children are ready to actually start reading. Encouraging reading starts in infancy and really takes root in the preschool years. Here are some ways to encourage and support early readers every day.
1.) Provide a well-organized and comfortable space for reading.
One way to encourage and support early readers is to provide a welcoming space for reading. Try to create a space away from busy play (such as block play and dramatic play). Be sure the area is well-lit and comfy. Throw pillows and stuffed friends to read to are both great additions.
You might have a whole space dedicated to reading complete with bookshelves or a cozy corner with a basket of books. Either way be sure to stock this area with a variety of books relevant to their interests and the current theme. Rotate books frequently for engagement.
Here are more Photos & Ideas for Creating a Reading Space
2.) Stock your classroom with quality literature.
Picking high quality literature for young children is essential for engagement and development. When choosing books for your preschoolers consider:
Here is a list of must read books for preschoolers:
There are so many wonderful children's books I could fill an entire post with my favorites, instead I highlighted our top ten picks and added even more to my Essential Books for Preschoolers list in my bookshop.
3.) Read aloud every day, the more the better! Children learn comprehension skills and develop a love of reading when they hear stories read aloud.
Set aside at least one time in your daily routine where you read aloud to your preschoolers. This might be during circle time, a meal/snack time, or bedtime...whenever works for you!
Having this time as part of your routine shows children how important this time is and ensures you get in some read aloud time each day.
If your kids just aren't into it, don't be afraid to end the session. The last thing you want are children that are disengaged and come to think of reading time as boring.
If you're reading as a small group be open to allowing uninterested children to do another quiet activity or read their own book to themselves.
Ways to increase engagement with read alouds:
4.) Offer a Wide Variety of Books
Offer children a wide variety of books including books with no words, fiction, non-fiction, math, poetry, fairy tales, books about other cultures, and especially rhyming books and those that are easy for children to re-tell.
Include books that promote diversity and inclusion among different ages, races, genders, and abilities.
If you follow thematic teaching be sure to add plenty of books that align with your theme to your space.
Challenge yourself to try new reading activities and books with our Preschool Teacher Reading Bingo Challenge.
5.) Rotate Your Book Selection
Keep a well-stocked library of books to rotate through your reading center. Here are inspiring ways to organize all your children's literature.
6.) Offer plenty of rhyming activities and fingerplays
Add rhyming activities, fingerplays, and songs to your daily activities. Try adding these both formally and informally. New rhymes, fingerplays, and activities that require more focus are fun to introduce during a designated time of the day. Preschoolers love fingerplays and rhymes with props, the above rhyme comes from the PKPF Spring Rhymes pack which includes printable props.
Break out old favorites randomly during play time, car rides, or meals.
7.) Use a felt board, magnet board, or binder to offer props for retelling stories. You can make finger puppets, use felt pieces, or set up a Storybook Theater.
Learning to retell a story is an important milestone for young children getting ready to read. This skill supports children in developing reading comprehension, structure, and problem-solving.
Classic stories such as Goldilocks and the Three Bears are fantastic to share with young children developing this skill. Add related props to your felt or magnet board or create a binder to invite children to practice story re-telling.
Pre-K Printable Fun offers a growing line of Oral Language & Storytelling packs that make it easy to set up engaging storytelling invitations.
8.) Offer a wide-variety of letter activities that support letter identification and practicing phonemes.
Offer preschoolers a variety of ways to practice uppercase/lowercase letter matching and phonemes. Offering Alphabet Activities in your learning environment that children can access anytime is a great way to encourage them to work on this skill.
These skills can also be woven into play and daily tasks. During Dramatic Play children can practice their writing skills, during block play children often make a variety of sounds that are supportive of learning phonemes, also try weaving in alphabet activities in your gross motor invitations.
9.) Do a Storytime Activity once a week (or more!) to weave reading into other learning areas.
Here at Pre-K Printable Fun we love Storytime Activities!
Pairing a fun book with a craft or activity is a great way to take time to reflect on the book and dive in deeper to the book topic.
Check out our library of Free Storytime Activities
10.) Every child has a word that is their absolute favorite and that they often learn to read first, their name! Provide name recognition activities often.
The first word children usually learn to read is very special indeed, it's their name!
Be sure to offer your budding reader many different opportunities to discover and practice their name.
You can find many different ways to support this name recognition in the post Learning Objective: Name Recognition so be sure to check it out!
The above activity is a freebie from PKPF and you can find that here.
Thanks for reading! I hope you found this post helpful, find even more ways to support your early reader with the links below.
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