What happens if my child isn’t reading before kindergarten? Our Education expert says it’s perfectly okay if your child enters kindergarten not reading, but they do need to have a handle on reading readiness skills which will help prepare them to learn HOW to read.
You just finished celebrating your child’s preschool graduation. You can’t believe how fast the time flew by. Looking ahead to kindergarten can bring on a wave of emotions ranging from excitement to sadness to worry. Is my child really ready? What if she isn’t reading, like your friend’s daughter? So does that mean she is already behind? Not necessarily.
Today there is a huge emphasis on early exposure to reading and literacy skills. Many preschools have literacy programs in place starting as young as two years old. But what do you do if your child still isn’t reading, despite the early exposure?
The kindergarten curriculum is designed to teach all children how to read. That means that kindergarten teachers have children who have no reading skills at all, along with children who are reading chapter books. In early September, your child’s teacher will introduce letters, the sounds they make and letter formation. After assessing each student, the teacher will gear instruction towards teaching the children on their individual levels.
It is perfectly ok for your child to enter kindergarten not reading. Many of the strongest readers in my second-grade class were not reading before kindergarten. However, your child does need reading readiness skills. These are the basic skills that prepare young children to learn how to read. Below are some ways that you can prepare your child for reading.
READING BEFORE KINDERGARTEN
1.) Teach them to sing.
Not just any song, but the alphabet of course. Kids need to know that letters exist. The more they see and hear about letters, the more ready they will be to learn about them. Print out coloring pages with the letters on them and talk about each letter and the sound it makes. There are many alphabet picture books to share with your child as well. My favorite is “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom”.
2.) Read to them, a lot!
I started reading to my children when they were infants. Their little eyes were mesmerized by the bright colors on the page and the sound of my voice. Children who are read to understand from early on, that words have meaning. They understand how telling a story works. They can recognize that stories have a beginning, middle and end. They know that stories focus on a character and have a setting. All of these story elements are essential to understanding the purpose of reading. It motivates children to want to read independently.
3.) Sign up for Library Programs.
The public library has great programs to get kids interested in reading. Just allowing kids to see the books on the shelves and let them pick out what interests them is highly motivating when it comes to reading. Sign up for summer reading clubs and programs that get kids coming into the library regularly. The more they see books being read, the more they will want to read themselves.
So what if you are already doing all of these things and your child still isn’t reading? It is developmentally appropriate to not be fully reading before kindergarten. Once school begins, you will have a better understanding of where your child is in terms of reading. Your child’s teacher will tell you if there are any concerns when you meet for conferences in the fall. It is very important not to pressure your child by studying and using flash cards. Reading should be fun for kids and studying in kindergarten can make your child feel insecure about his ability to read on his own. Enjoy the time you have to read aloud to your child. Soon enough he will reading chapter books on his own!
Thanks for reading,