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Preschool summer reading tips

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Learning to read begins far before children enter formal schooling. Children who have stimulating literacy experiences from birth have an edge in vocabulary development, understanding the goals of reading, and developing an awareness of print and literacy concepts. Two skills that are easy for parents of preschoolers are phonemic awareness and the alphabet principle.

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Good readers are phonemically aware.

One way to develop phonemic awareness is Rhyming Words Activities.

· Start by reading rhyming words in songs, poems, and big books. Check out: The rarest and best poetry for children.

· Help your child realize that words are made up of syllables by clapping. Clap with you as you say words like sun/shine.

· Use Sound Substitution using rhyming riddles. Example: What rhymes with book and starts with /c/? (Cook)

· Create an awareness of Sound Isolation by helping your child identify the beginning, middle, and ending sounds in words. For example, "What is the beginning sound in rose?" "What is the ending sound in dog?”What is the sound you hear in the middle of map?"

Good readers understand the alphabetic principle.

The alphabetic principle is the understanding that words are made up of letters and letters represent sounds. This begins the decoding process.

· Start by having magnetic letters on your refrigerator. First, help them make three letter words such as bat, cat, and hat…every day changing one letter to make a new word. After they are able to change the beginning letter switch to the ending letter such as bat, bad, bag…Finally, the ending letter middle letter bit, bid, big.

· Love notes. With sticky notes leave small words for your child to read for example. “Love Mom” on a plate of cookies, “Sweet dreams” on their pillow. Or label things with sticky notes.

· Hunt for words that all have the same letter in the books you are sharing. For example when you are reading before bed you say, “Tonight we are going to look for words that begin with G.” Have your little one point to the G’s as you read.

· Every child need at least one alphabet book. Below are 10 great choices found at Many more choices are in the slide-show.

1. Z Goes Home by Jon Agee

2. ABCDinosaurs ny American Museum of Natural History

3. A Gardener’s Alphabetby Mary Azarian

4. Alphabetter by Dan Bar-el

5. Animalia by Graham Base

6. ABC of Canada by Kim Bellefontaine

7. Alligator Alphabet by Stella Blackstone

8. Dogabet by Dianna Bonder

9. Sleepy ABC by Margaret Wise Brown

10. Quilt Alphabet by Lesa Cline- Ransome


Rhonda Cratty includes her experiences of 30 years of public school teaching, raising children of her own, and articles written for on-line and hard copy publications -within the pages of Learning at home. Learning at home can be purchased in print or eBook form through


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