When children begin to see the connection between the printed and spoken word, they are learning to read! Often times people do not associate this early reading as reading, but just see it as memorization or visual clues.
When your child wants to hear his/her favorite book over and over and can eventually “read” it on their own, they may not be reading the words, but trust me they see themselves as a reader. Often times we discredit this feeling in children and tell them they aren’t reading… they are reading… like a 4/5 year old. And, this is a good thing!
Here is a way to help your child practice reading actual sentences, work on learning/practicing sight words, AND utilize the environmental print they already can read.
First… environmental print is the print we see in our every day life. This does not mean you need to go around and label the door, cabinet, floor and couch in your house… nope it means looking for the words are already exist in your space. I bet your child can read more words than you realize when you think about it in these terms.
Second… sight words are words that you have to memorize how to read and write. The fluency of reading sight words increases the fluency of reading… the faster you can read the sight words, the faster you can read. Now, do you need to drill and kill sight words with your preK kiddo… NOOOOO! I do think introducing some simple ones helps your child in the reading and writing process. Words like: I, a, the, my, see, like, can. These words make writing sentences easier and are used in a lot of easy reader books.
So, lets combine these two skills. Write out sentence starter strips “I like”, “I see”, “I like the”, “I see the”. You could also add “I see a” “I like my” or other simple sentence. Now have your child find words around the house that he/she can read. Trust me… go to your pantry they can read lots of food words!
When your child reads, point to the words as they are said. Once he/she gets better at recognizing the sight words, have him/her point and read at the same time.