Friday, January 9, 2015

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Developing Early Reading Skills in Preschoolers: Strategies

Developing early reading skills begins long before actually learning to read.  This week and next week, I will be sharing a mini-series about developing these early reading skills in preschoolers!

I recently took a professional development class about early reading skills, and as I sat through the lessons I became more and more convinced that you can teach these early reading skills through simple, playful interactions with your young children.

If you haven't already read my post about how preschoolers' brains develop, I strongly suggest you read that first.  Everybody wants their young children to read as early as possible, but pushing them when they're not ready is actually damaging.  On the other hand, these "pre-reading" skills can be "taught" while you simply read to your children!

During this mini-series, I will address four early reading skills, what they are, why they are important, how you can "teach" them to young children, and (for those of you teaching preschool groups) how you can teach them to a group of kiddos.  We will end with a wrap-up post next week!  As I post, I will link the posts to each of these labels:

1- Print Awareness

2- Phonological Awareness

3- Phonics

4- Strategies (this post!)

5- Wrap Up!

So, let's get started!!


1.  What are Reading Strategies:

Using different strategies to understand a variety of texts.

2.  Why are Reading Strategies important:

Using different methods to understand and interpret books and other texts allows children to pull more meaning from reading material and understand material that they may not be able to read.

3.  How to "teach" Reading Strategies to your own child:

** Read with your children!!  Don't rush through the book, though.  Snuggle up with a good book, and while you read, ask these sorts of questions:

"What do you think the book will be about?" (as you look at the cover)
"What do you think will happen on this page?"
"What do you think ___ will choose?"
"Do you think that is a good choice?"
"What do you think would have happened if he done ___ instead?"

** When your kiddos stop your reading to ask you a question, go ahead and answer it!  Or look at whatever they are pointing out in the pictures or the story line.  Letting them make observations encourages them to think about the story.

4.  How to teach Reading Strategies to a group of preschoolers:

Use the same questioning methods with a group that you would use with one child, insisting that the children take turns answering and listen to each other's comments.  As the teacher, you need to moderate the questions and comments a little more to keep a pace that will hold the attention of a group, but the questions above will be just as helpful for a group of children as an individual child.

A Note on Reading:  Remember that reading a book can be much more than just a quick story.  With a few pre-reading, during-reading, and post-reading conversations, you can turn the book into a whole learning experience.  As you analyze a simple story line, you also strengthen your children's reasoning, listening, and communication skills!  These kinds of observations and discussions can happen with children as young as toddlers, and continue into school-age years!

5.  Goals:

During their kindergarten year in Texas, children are expected to predict what might happen next in a text based on illustrations and titles.  They are also expected to ask and respond to questions about texts that have been read out loud.  Preschoolers who have been read to and who have interacted with books during the preschool years will learn these skills quickly and easily while strengthening their language and reasoning skills at the same time.

I hope you find this series encouraging and exciting, and that you join us for the rest of the posts!  Feel free to email or leave comments with feedback, your own experiences, or your own tips!!

I may share at any of these parties!

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