Preparing Preschoolers to Read

Question: My daughter just turned 4, and I was wondering if this is the right age to start teaching her to read?

Answer: You began preparing your daughter to learn to read the fist time you read a story to her. Continuing to prepare her to read is one of the most important things you can do for your child at this age.

Before beginning any type of formal reading instruction, be sure that your child is familiar with nursery rhymes and can recite them. Also check that she knows how to recognize rhyming words. Another part of reading preparation is calling your daughter’s attention to the printed word in such things as stop signs and grocery items so she gets the idea that print carries a message.

Reading predictable pattern books is the next step. Children love hearing the repeated words and phrases in books such as Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? and The Gingerbread Boy. She can repeat lines from these books with you.

You can also start to teach your daughter to recognize the letters of the alphabet and some of their sounds. There are definitely a lot of books, alphabet blocks and musical videos that will make this more enjoyable.

Remember that most children will not know all of the letters of the alphabet nor their sounds when they enter kindergarten. Some children are more eager to learn to read than others. There is no particular age when formal reading instruction should begin. In fact, some children teach themselves to read before they are 4, while others are not ready until they are 6 or even older.

Limit what you try to teach your daughter about reading to what interests her. You don’t want to turn her away from books and reading. After all, she will be taught to read in kindergarten and first grade.

Categories: Early Education, Preschool Early Learning