Children are never too young for reading practice! Parents are even encouraged to read to their babies. The more words children hear the better! Reading helps children understand sounds, learn new words and builds language skills, too.
Parents may begin working with their preschoolers to learn early literacy skills like letter recognition, sounds and more. Some children may even be precocious readers and dive into books. Can parents use reading programs for preschoolers, though?
Yes! And the top reading programs for preschoolers may focus on letter recognition/sounds, fluency and possibly even early comprehension skills.
Working with Preschoolers at Home
Preschoolers are usually between the ages of three and five. They’re not quite ready for kindergarten, but they are learning new skills every day. At this age, parents may teach colors and numbers and, of course, the alphabet.
Learning the alphabet introduces children to the letters that make up every word. And when teaching the alphabet, parents also can emphasize the sounds of each letter. Try these activities to help children learn their sounds and alphabet!
Sand is a fun and tactile substance for children. Playing in sand or with clay or other unique textures can be a great sensory exercise and help them work on letters, too.
Build a makeshift sandbox using a shoe box or maybe even a gift box. Just fill it with sand or maybe even clay. Choose a substance that children can use their fingers to form or trace letters. Even rice could work.
Parents can show children how to form each letter. Don’t worry about getting this perfect. Children may struggle at first, but they can have fun playing and learning how to form letters.
When writing or tracing each letter, parents can make the sound. Or say an object that identifies each letter. Like “B” for “ball.”
Families that don’t want to deal with the possible mess of sand indoors (if they can’t go outside) also can use dough to creatively form letters. Help children shape each letter. And, again, make the sounds, too.
Sound Scavenger Hunts
For this game, parents will need some foam letters or they might just cut out letters from paper. This is a sound scavenger hunt. Parents can use foam letters as the clues for kids. Help them find or identify things around the house with each letter. Q, x or z may be difficult! Get creative!
Letter Match Game
Make two cards featuring each letter. Then play the match game. Take turns flipping over cards to find the matches of each letter.
Children may struggle at first. Be patient and help them. Soon, though, they may become letter matching pros!
After children can identify uppercase letters, work on the lower case. Match the upper with the lower!
One of the easiest ways to help children enjoy reading and learning words is to read to them daily! Read several books each day. Aim for five! These don’t have to be large books; preschoolers may still have a short attention span.
Find books with favorite characters or books that include a child’s favorite interests.
Visit the Library
Take children to the library and let them pick out books from the children’s section. This is a fun way to let children explore all the books, characters and adventures.
Attend Story Time
Libraries or local bookstores may host a story time for young children. The event also might include crafts or other activities. This is a great way to encourage even more time with books; plus children may meet a few new friends.
Reading Games Online
Many sites online offer reading games or games that help children to identify letters and/or sounds. PBS Kids can be a great site for educational games, and parents might find even more apps and options via their phone or other device.
Reading games can help preschoolers practice literacy skills like letter identification, sounds, blends and even begin to learn sight words. Plus, games may feature favorite characters or interactive activities that hold a child’s interest.
Some parents, though, might be mindful about how much time their child spends looking at those screens. Today’s children have so many screens that it can be overwhelming for parents. Every family is different when it comes to setting screen time limitations.
KidsHealth.org recommends that preschoolers (ages 2 to 5) should only have one hour of “educational programming” each day. But this doesn’t include video chats.
Apps and games should be educational, and parents may wish to be mindful about their choices. Research games and apps. Read the reviews. And the app description.
Parents also may want to check to see if the apps offer in-app purchases. This means that children could purchase items within the game. Parents should adjust their phone’s settings to ensure that children cannot make purchases (unless parents are ok with these purchases).
When Preschoolers are Precocious Readers
Some preschoolers have a knack for decoding language. They can read fluently and they understand basic books. Some preschoolers also can read or decode way beyond their age or grade-level but might struggle with comprehension.
Other children may read and comprehend way beyond their age or grade level. They may be voracious readers…even at a young age. Children develop at all speeds. Parents should focus on the skills and needs of their child.
If a preschooler is reading fluently, parents may encourage them to read books aloud during reading time together. Parents can help children practice their skills by choosing books that are age appropriate and are interesting to the child.
Encourage young readers to choose their own books at the library. Help children find different topics, too, that align with their favorite interests or hobbies. Parents also can ask children what they want to learn about; are there any places they want to visit?
Choose books that help young readers expand their mind!
Summer Reading Programs
Preschoolers aren’t too young to participate in summer reading programs. Typically, these programs are offered by libraries. The programs encourage children to read a certain number of books or pages during the summer. Goals also could be based on reading minutes.
Programs could offer incentives or prizes when children hit goals during the program. So while the program may encourage children to read 180 minutes total, they may receive incentives or prizes when they hit 60 minutes, 90 minutes, etc.
Every summer reading program may be organized differently. But these programs are usually a fun way to encourage children to read and earn rewards!
Using the Top Reading Programs for Preschoolers
Parents may wish to encourage precocious readers to expand their abilities by using a reading program that is focused on fluency and comprehension. Or parents could use a reading program to help a preschooler begin a reading journey.
Readability is a reading program that is lesson-based and can be used by preschoolers. The program also can grow with young readers, and it can be used through fifth grade.
Readability includes a built-in AI tutor. This tutor helps to direct lessons and provides assistance when the child struggles. The AI tutor features voice-recognition software, and, as the child reads aloud, the tutor learns to identify the child’s voice.
At the end of each story, the tutor will provide a quick quiz that tests the child’s knowledge of the story they read. This is how the program measures reading comprehension.
Reading fluency also is measured during lessons. But how is fluency determined? Typically, reading fluency is measured in words read per minute. Fluency is how precisely a child can read the text. So if they stumble or miss a word, this is deducted from the fluency measurement.
When a child demonstrates proficiency in both fluency and comprehension, they can advance to the next reading level. However, each level consists of multiple books and lessons. Children may take more time on a level. Every child will advance at their own pace.
Readability offers stories and books that are leveled to meet each child’s ability. Stories also are age-appropriate. Older children who struggle with reading won’t feel like they are reading content aimed toward a younger child.
Younger children, though, won’t read stories that are beyond their maturity. Preschoolers can enjoy lots of immersive books and stories through Readability, and they will be exposed to both fiction and nonfiction works.
Stories also include colorful illustrations. This means young readers won’t be overwhelmed by big bricks of text. And they also can click on words in each story to discover the definition! This helps all children expand their vocabulary and build their own language bank!
Parents of young preschoolers might be unsure if a reading program is right for their child. Will the program hold their interest? Will it be too hard?
Readability lets parents try out the program with their child…for free! Readability offers a free seven-day trial period that provides full access to the program and all its features. Explore the stories and become acquainted with the AI tutor!
Ready to get your preschooler excited to read? Begin a free trial with Readability today!