Pre K Reading

The term for children who are developing early reading skills is emergent reader.

U nlike spoken language and many of the physical tasks mastered in childhood, reading is not a naturally acquired skill. Children must understand certain “rules” to make sense of how letters and sounds go together to form the basis of the English written language. Beginning at birth, children hear and begin to respond to spoken language; they will naturally acquire the language(s) that is reinforced through interaction.

By the time children reach 18 months old, they have begun to understand spoken words and have developed a limited vocabulary. Most 2-year-olds comprehend basic verbal language and have a vocabulary of approximately 50 words that increases to about 200 by the time they reach age 3. Language acquisition is essential to all forms of communication and sets the stage for developing the skills that will be required for reading.

T he term for children who are developing early reading skills is emergent reader. This “critical window” in development is defined as the period, generally between the ages of 2 and 5, when children become aware that words are the “code” we use to speak and write in English. At some point in this period, young children also begin to develop an understanding that text holds the meaning of our spoken language. Another fundamental task of this stage is understanding concepts of print: how our written language is represented and how this representation occurs in books.

These concepts of print are the important first steps in developing the foundation for reading, and include the understanding that:

Print, made up of letters and words, contain the meaning of a story, and that the illustrations and images correspond to the print

The directional arrangement of print in English is left to right and top to bottom from one line of text to the next

Book orientation knowledge: books have a front, back, and an author

D uring this period, children also begin to make connections between text and the world around them. Known as environmental print, this is writing that is found in everyday life and includes cereal boxes, signs, and the books that are read at bedtime.

Some of the most natural and effective ways to develop this knowledge are done through play. Parents and caregivers can introduce simple activities that allow children to play with sounds, letters, and words.

Beginning Letter Sounds

Animal Name Games

Alphabet Matching

Games that allow children to notice beginning letter sounds are fun ways to introduce phonemic awareness.

A s parents and caregivers prepare children to enter school, there are a number of specific skills that will establish a solid foundation for reading. Researchers such as Marilyn J. Adams, have identified three primary predictors for determining preschoolers’ success at learning to read.

1 Their ability to recognize and name letters of the alphabet

2 Their general knowledge about text and books

3 Their awareness of phonemes (the speech sounds that correspond to individual letters)

T he good news, according to Adams’ research, is that reading potential is not shown to be strongly related to poverty, handedness, dialect, gender, IQ, mental age, or any other circumstances that can’t be changed. Instead, the potential for reading is primarily due to experience with print and print concepts.

Things to know before entering Kindergarten

To equip students with the preliminary skills for literacy, the following phonemic awareness and concepts of print are useful prior to entering kindergarten:

Help your Pre K Reader find the path to success!

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