Let’s Talk About Learning to Read – Beginning with Very Young Children
The process of learning to read begins long before children begin kindergarten. Learning to read begins when children are babies. Very young children love to learn new words and they especially like to use their voices to play with sounds. When spending time with very young children, chatting, sharing rhymes and reading aloud all contribute to reading readiness. If we take time to examine what we would like youngsters to know before they start kindergarten, we wil be guided in our choices about stories to share and the importance of engaging young children in conversation and wordplay.
- Before starting kindergarten, we would like children to know some nursery rhymes. Why not use our printable nursery rhymes or visit your public library and borrow a nursery rhyme book or two? Here are our free downloads:
Hey Diddle Diddle
Traditional English nursery rhyme that includes repetition, rhyming and imagery.
Traditional English-language nursery rhyme. Usually includes an anthropomorphic (possessing human traits, emotions) egg.
Jack and Jill
Traditional English-language nursery rhyme. Includes alliteration and rhyming.
Little Boy Blue
Traditional English-language nursery rhyme featuring alliteration and rhyming.
Old Mother Hubbard
Traditional English-language nursery rhyme.
Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
Classic Nursery Rhyme written by Jane Taylor
- We would also like youngsters to know how to re-tell a favourite story. I suggest ‘reading’ wordless picture books with your child and then ask her to re-tell the story. Dinnertable conversation can also be an opportunity to share stories. As well, rides in the car are a great opportunity for storytellling.
- Also, before beginning school, we would like to children to understand that when we read a story, it is very much like being able to see the same words we speak
- We would also like children to know some or even most of the letters of the alphabet. You will find lots of free, printable alphabets on this site for children who are learning to read.
A Caveman Alphabet
Free printable alphabet features a fun caveman for each letter.
A Colourful Alphabet
Free printable alphabet uses bright colours for each letter.
A Fruit and Vegetables Alphabet
Free printable alphabet features a fruit or vegetable for each letter.
A Brush Stroke Alphabet
A printable brush stroke alphabet - great for children who are learning letters. This alphabet can be used in a variety of ways: create an alphabet ‘strip’ or cut the letters apart, mix and then put in ABC order. Or, print two sets, cut apart and create an alphabet memory/matching game.
- Ideally, children beginning kindergarten should understand that letters each have at least one sound associated with them. Help your child to learn this by explaining the sounds made by “P,” “F,” “M” and “S” because these sounds are very distintive.
- We’d also like children who are learning to read to understand that books written in English are read from front to back and pages written in English are read from left to right. When enjoying a read aloud, talk with youngsters about the cover and the spine of a book. Notice whether a book is paperback or hardcover and point out a book jacket if there is one. Ask your child to open the book and find the title page. Remember to look for information about the author and/or the illustrator. Once you start to read aloud, casually point out the words you are reading and move your finger from left to right as you read a story.
Usually when I read a book that uses LARGE, BOLD letters for some especially great words, I make a point of repeating the best passages and I encourage my audience to “read” the words with me when I read them a second (or third) time!
Use the alphabets to create matching and memory games, or an alphabet strip or spell your child’s name with them.
Note: For printable alphabets, The Alphabet Song and activities to help your child learn the alphabet. be sure to check out our Alphabet Recognition page.
Please note: some of our early literacy printables are available to Storytime Standouts members only. To become a member of the website (without cost or obligation), please click on the “Members” tab and register as a user.