Reading is a vital skill for every child, and a love of reading takes reading from something academic to something pleasurable. Fostering a love of reading empowers preschoolers to develop and sharpen their reading skills, creating a critical foundation for success in both school and life.
Scholastic suggests 5 strategies to help children love reading, inside and outside of the classroom: create a supportive learning environment; shared book reading; songs, rhyme and word play; developmental writing; and literacy-related play.
1. Creating a Supportive Learning Environment
Environment and opportunity are key factors for developing a lifelong passion for reading. In the classroom, this means that the room is designed for active play and exploration. Literacy tools should be accessible for children and inviting for them to interact with. In our Pre-Kindergarten room, our room is full of school readiness activities that children have regular access to, including interactive posters, books and educational toys.
At home, you can foster a reading environment by also using books and educational toys. Having a space for their books that they can reach allows them to explore or read whenever they want to, not just during “reading time.”
2. Shared Book Reading
Shared book reading is one of the oldest and most powerful ways to teach children vocabulary and reading comprehension. Scholastic says: Supporting very young children in building their oral language and comprehension skills will create a solid foundation as they move through the upper grades.
One way we incorporate shared reading at Riley Crossing is with our Grandfriends. Children build confidence by reading to or with their Grandfriends. Preschoolers at home may be reluctant to read aloud or view it as a chore – treat it like a fun, shared activity by reading together, or encourage your child to show off their skills by reading aloud to a loved one or pet.
3. Songs, Rhyme and Word Play
Lyrical play helps children hear the sounds of the language. Songs, rhymes and word play are also easier to remember for children while being a fun activity. At Riley Crossing, we partner with MacPhail music learning to foster this love of reading through song. Parents at home can reinforce this learning by also learning the songs, rhymes and word plays as their children and singing along.
4. Developmental Writing
Reading, oral language and writing all go hand-in-hand. Developing their writing skills also improves children’s reading skills. To help them develop this skill, we ensure that our classrooms are well-stocked with writing materials in all spaces. At home, make sure your child has writing tools they can use to practice.
5. Literacy-Related Play
Learning through play is one our central values, and a proven method for children to develop critical educational skills. Play allows children to develop oral language skills, build relationships with others and become problem-solvers.
Children typically learn best through thematic units. In the classroom, we link art projects, music, books and play to one central theme. At home, you can also link literacy and play by role playing based on books your child is reading or that you read to your child. For example, reading a book about caring for animals and then playacting a veterinarian with your child.
The best way to foster a love of reading in your preschooler is by making reading fun and an everyday part of life. By repeating some of the same tactics we use in the classroom at home, children don’t associate reading with something they only do at preschool, but instead something that they want to do and that is as important as play.
At the Riley Crossing Preschool, our preschool focuses on academics with a strong emphasis on character building and socialization. We provide exceptional academics and the opportunity for preschoolers to socialize with both their peers and their “Grandfriends.” Our Campus has been designed to give children daily opportunities to interact and build friendships through our staff-supervised activities. Intergenerational activities include: read-a-long time, bingo, hi-tech science program, MacPhail lifelong learning music program, special events for families to get to know our Grandfriends, and more!
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