Focus on the Family

Kindergarten Readiness: Reading

Here are some enjoyable activities you can do with your child to help "grow" his literacy skills.

by Focus on Your Child

Are Certain Kinds of Books Better Than Others?

Exposure to many different kinds of books will increase your child's language skills. For example:

What Is the Best Setting for Reading?

The best time for reading to and with your child, or for having him read to you, is when he is rested and content. A quiet environment will keep distractions to a minimum. Have him sit close to you so he can see the book. If he is wiggly, try reading to him while he is in the bathtub. Remember that he may want to hear a favorite book over and over again. He will begin to memorize the story, and that's a stepping stone in the process of learning to read.

Remember, too, that he may well want to "read" to you, even before he can technically do so. Encourage this behavior, because telling the story while pointing to the pictures is an important pre-reading skill.

Avid readers acquire their love of reading at home, from their parents. No teacher can pass along a passion for books the way a loving parent can. Children remember cozy bedtime stories, sharing books with friends and siblings, and the freedom and encouragement to read lots of different kinds of books.

Is Learning How to Write Connected with Learning How to Read?

It certainly is! Even before they enter kindergarten, most children take the first steps toward experimenting with print. Here's how you can support your child's earliest attempts at writing:

When your child seems ready for more complex tasks, encourage him to print his name beginning with a capital letter and using lowercase letters for the rest. Help him to learn his address and phone number, his birthday, the days of the week, and months of the year. These skills represent major steps in learning language. Remember that praise for even small improvements in any of these areas reinforces his willingness to try harder.