Square Roots Preschool: Seeing the Signs with Your Preschooler
Before young children can read, they will often read logos on signs for often-seen business or logos on product packages that the family uses. Though your child may not be able to read the word “target,” he likely can read the Target sign as you drive by (or go in and spend way too much money).
This recognition is a great thing, and it means that your child is developing pre-reading skills. There are several activities you can do to encourage this skill.
While you are driving, ask your child to identify familiar signs such as a favorite restaurant or a stop sign. Ask your child, “what does that sign say?” or “can you read that sign to me?” By phrasing it that way, you are letting your child know that she is reading, not just identifying a picture, thus building confidence in the process. If your child knows most of the signs in your neighborhood, you can make things a bit more challenging. Ask your child to find a sign that starts with a particular letter, or ask your child to holler out each time she sees a particular word in a sign, such as “the” or “and.”
At home, you can provide your child with a magazine and ask him to point out signs (often advertisements) he can read. You can cut the pictures and words out for your child or allow him to develop his cutting skills with the use of safety scissors. Help your child make an “I Can Read” book by gluing the signs he’s identified on sheets of paper and folding or stapling them together. Then he can show off all he knows to other family members and friends.
Fun activities that provide development of pre-reading skills like these help your child follow directions and work on letter and word recognition. Go out there and see what your preschooler knows!
Our Roll-Call Tree: Pre-reading and Name Recognition–Square Roots Preschool
Every morning at the beginning of circle time, we sing our welcome song and do roll call, which is also in the form of a song. We sing for each child present while that child plays the tambourine.
Ms. Taryn holds up a name and asks the class who’s name it is. With a little bit of practice, not only can the students recognize their own name, but also the names of other children in the class. And we know they’re not cheating by recognizing only the first letter because multiple students’ names begin with the same letter. They’re reading!
Once the students determine whose name is on the card, they get to carry their own name to our roll-call tree. All the names on the tree represent the students present in class that day.
This activity helps with letter recognition, name recognition, and builds reading skills. Plus, each of the students feel confident and welcomed by being the superstar with all of the attention for a brief period as everyone else sings to them and they hang their name on the tree.
And we all know who’s present!
Taking Charge of Chores Helps Develop Reading Skills
When preschool-aged children see that everyone in the family contributes to chores and has a responsibility, they feel part of the family and a sense of pride by being part of the team. You can take this a step further by allowing your child to be “in charge” of the chore chart, developing pre-reading skills at the same time.
Help your preschooler make a simple chart of responsibilities, such as cleaning up toys, setting the table, feeding the family pet, or doing the dishes. Cut out a photo of each family member and label them with their names. Let your preschooler place the picture next to the chore that each person will do. Each chore can have a picture and a name, as well. Your child will feel pride in helping to designate who will do what and will develop her reading skills, name recognition, and classification.
You can then ask your child to hold one of the family member’s photos and talk about all of the jobs that that family member does. (This is a good one to help with appreciation of others, too!) Then ask your child to read the names of the family members without their photos.
Soon your preschooler will know how to read all of the family members’ names as well as some basic household chores!
Children will begin the process of learning to read long before they are actually reading. Asking your preschooler to help you sort the mail is a fun, interactive way to boost those pre-reading skills.
Ask your child to sort the mail into different categories. These categories might include magazines, letters, envelope color, type of stamp, size, or person whom the mail is for. This process of sorting helps with sorting, classification, and letter recognition. Experiment with different ways to sort the mail, and your child can even play “postal worker” by delivering the mail to the appropriate person in the family.
Let your preschooler open the junk mail and pretend to read it to you. See where her imagination takes her. You can also have her fill out forms (often junk mail comes with order forms) or circle all of the “red” items in a catalog. All of these tasks help boost reading skills and help boost confidence and enthusiasm for reading.
We recently set up a “post office” in our dramatic play area. The students wrote letters, read mail, delivered packages to each other, sorted mail, made and pasted stamps, and categorized mail by type. They had a fantastic time and didn’t even realize they were boosting their pre-reading skills in the process!
To learn to read, children need discrimination skills and a good memory. Playing memory games with your preschooler is a great way to develop these pre-reading skills.
“What’s Missing?” is a fun game that you can do with everyday objects in a variety of places. First, put a few toys or objects out in a designated area. Ask your child to study what is there and try to remember what she sees. Ask her to close her eyes. While her eyes are closed, take one item away, then have her open her eyes.
Ask, “which item is missing?” Did she remember what was there that has been removed?
This game can be fun at an early age or for beginners with only two objects. She’ll likely know right away what is missing, and this early success will build confidence. Gradually increase the number of objects as your child’s skill level increases.
This game can be done in a restaurant with objects on the table or in the bathtub. As your child grows older, this game can be played with similar objects such as coins, which will help your child learn the names and differences in the coins. For another variation, paint popsicle sticks all different colors and ask your child which color is missing. There are lots of possibilities!