Should You Teach Your Child To Learn To Read Before Preschool?
Most people have a story or know someone who has a story about being scolded by a teacher for knowing too much, too soon. Simple acts like reading a few words seem to elicit fairly extreme reactions in these stories. These recollections might make you question the value of starting to teach your children to read when they aren't even ready to head off to preschool. Don't let hearsay drive you away from that activity; there are some marked benefits to teaching your children to read at a very young age.
It Doesn't Have to Be Perfect
One thing to remember first: your child's reading doesn't have to be perfect before he or she heads off to school. You're not aiming to beat the crowd and land your child in a top percentile on tests. This is a time when you can let your children explore books, picking up information here and there. Have fun with this.
Self-Pacing and Stronger Interest
One advantage to starting the reading lessons early in life is that your children can sort of pick and choose what to look at. Obviously, if they know nothing about reading, they can't really state that they want to work on vowels and diphthongs today, but they can look at what catches their eyes. That makes reading more interesting because the children are allowed to explore what looks neat, rather than being forced to study things they consider boring.
Head Starts in Other Subjects
If you can get the basics of reading out of the way now, that lets your children concentrate on other subjects in school once they get into the educational system. It doesn't guarantee that they'll do better in those subjects, but there will be less to deal with in terms of learning the basics of reading while also trying to learn math or another subject. That can make school a little less stressful or overwhelming.
Speech and Language Effects
If you work on reading and associating letters and words with sounds, you're helping your children improve their language and speech skills. They'll have better mental connections between written and spoken language.
If you help your children learn to read and keep reading to them, you can improve the bond between you. Time spent poring over book pages together is time spent together in general, and the children have more of a sense of partnership with you.
While learning to read early on isn't a guarantee of academic or social success, it can certainly make the transition to formal schooling -- even preschool -- much easier. If you want to ensure you start your children off right, talk to educators in your area about early reading and preschool learning programs.