The process of learning to read is truly magical and it is so exciting when a child discovers how to “crack the code.” While mobile apps and devices (Kindle, Nook, iBooks) serve as a fun tool, they do not replace the importance of a physical storybook for the child. Children learn through exploring, and the sensory experience of holding a book and turning its pages is a meaningful process for young children.
There are essential skills that must develop before a child is ready to read:
1. Love for books – Even before a child can read, they become interested in books. As they hold the book and turn its pages they are also strengthening their hand-eye coordination skills.
2. Tracking Skills – As you read with your child, they acquire tracking skills, which include the ability to follow words and pages from left to right throughout a book. It’s during this phase that children begin to recognize individual letters and how these letters form words.
3. Sight-Word Vocabulary – A sight-word vocabulary begins to emerge as they develop the understanding that words remain the same from day-to-day.
4. Listening Skills – Listening skills are being further developed and the child begins to recognize how letter sounds connect with written letters.
5. Communication – Finally, the child begins to string sounds together to make words and begins implementing the rhythm of language.
Reading ability and readiness improve most rapidly with the support of interested adults. Read with your children, relish the process of becoming a reader and watch as new worlds are opened with every turn of the page.