Every parent has a different set of priorities when looking for a preschool for their child. Some parents want a childcare center that focuses on play, others want an academic experience, and still others want a social environment. Whatever your priorities are, many parents are anxious about their preschooler learning the basics of reading. During preschool, most children are exposed to pre-reading skills. These are skills that prepare your child to read and help promote early literacy. Below are a few things you can look for to see if your preschool of choice promotes early literacy.
- Object Labeling. When children are passively exposed to words, they will become comfortable recognizing them. Labeled objects can help children begin to recognize words even if the children do not know their letters.
- Plenty of Pictures. While exposure to words and letters is important, literacy also depends on understanding sequencing and narration. This is developed by allowing children to create narratives freely. Often, pictures around a preschool room are used to spark story ideas and help children begin to learn narration and storytelling.
- Hands-on Books. Familiarity with books helps with early literacy. Children should spend time examining pictures and words, turning pages, and exploring the construction of books. When books are kept within the reach of children and are accessible during free play, children will become more comfortable with books and the concept of reading. They are more likely to practice pre-reading skills on their own, at their own pace, which reinforces early literacy techniques.
- Rhyming objects. Rhyming games are an extremely helpful pre-reading tool. If your child's preschool has a rhyming board or rhyming box, where children are encouraged to match objects that rhyme, this is a good sign that the teachers are dedicated to early literacy.
- Three-Dimensional Letters. Children can learn letter order by being able to physically move letters around. There are many types of three-dimensional letters available, such as magnetic letters or wooden letter blocks. Any of these letter sets can promote early reading.
Even if your main interest in preschools is not academic, early literacy can help all children feel comfortable and successful in their early school years. If you are concerned that you do not see signs of early literacy training in your child's preschool, ask their teachers what their pre-reading techniques include. You may be surprised at all the ways your child is preparing to read, even from their earliest years.
For more information about what is offered at a preschool for your child, contact a local preschool facility like Learning Tree Schools.