Home School Heartbeat Radio Program

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Pre-reading Skills
Volume 118, Program 67
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Did you know that when you cuddle up with your preschooler to read a book, you’re actually helping him develop pre-reading skills? Hear this tip and more today on Home School Heartbeat, with your host Mike Smith.

Mike Smith: HSLDA’s early years consultant, Vicki Bentley, is with us again today. Vicki, in what ways can a preschool parent help develop their preschooler’s pre-reading skills?

Vicki Bentley: Well, the primary way is to create what Barbara Curtis calls “a language-rich environment.” Now, reading is just one facet of language-learning, so lullabies and nursery rhymes and repetitive songs like “The Wheels on the Bus,” and Bible verses and songs, and naming everything the child sees, playing sound and letter games, and, especially, reading to him all lay the groundwork for reading. Now, practically speaking, working puzzles develops visual discrimination that’s needed to distinguish say, a “b” from a “d” or a “p” from a “q.” Phonetic sound games, and then letter games. Maybe using sandpaper lowercase letters or letter magnets, letting kids cut out the B-words from the magazine. These are all foundational, fun ways to introduce reading concepts. Now, read to your child a lot! At the end of that picture book page, ask him, “What do you think is going to happen next?” or why he thinks something happened. This builds his listening and his comprehension skills. Reading to your child, whether cuddled on the sofa or a story on tape in your voice, not only helps him learn to read, it builds a love of reading and language, and it builds his relationship with you.

Mike: Well, thanks, Vicki, that’s very helpful. Now next time we’ll talk about math skills, so parents, you don’t want to miss it! And until then, I’m Mike Smith.

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