Young children are constantly learning. They watch and mimic the actions of their parents, siblings, teachers and playmates. When children are young, every interaction is a teachable moment. Parents can encourage desirable activities in their children through demonstration.Making time to read a bedtime story to your child every night demonstrates the value you place on reading and encourages your child to share your love of reading. Reading to your child is also the first step in preparing him to learn to read.

As children reach the ages of 3 and 4, reading skills begin to develop in earnest. Children start to identify words on signs, such as the word “stop” on a stop sign. They are able to identify their name on their preschool bin. They begin to associate sounds with letters. They follow along as you read to them and start to anticipate when it’s time to turn the page. They are able to comment on a story and retell favorite stories by memory.

Some of the things parents can do at home to help their child develop reading skills include:

  • Reading and telling stories to your child every day. Use character voices to bring stories alive.
  • Encourage your child’s participation by asking questions and answering your child’s questions.
  • Practice letter sounds when you read alphabet books together.
  • Play rhyming games while you’re fixing dinner or driving to and from preschool.
  • Ask your child to identify signs while you’re driving or shopping.
  • Visit the library every week and enroll your child in story hour.