The initial step is to stimulate your three-year-old’s interest in reading – typically by surrounding her with books. The fact that she can’t read yet doesn’t make books any less fascinating for her. She likes to hold them and to study the drawings or photos in them.
1 / 5 1. Interest in booksLoad more
2 / 5 2. Understanding of booksLoad more
Next, she begins to understand a book’s main features.
For instance, tell her the name of the story – point to it on the front cover.
Tell her that you always read a story from the first page to the last page, and not the other way round.
Show her the first page.
3 / 5 3. Environmental printLoad more
Without thinking about it, your child then starts to read “environmental print”.
These are words she sees daily, such as shop and road signs, posters, shopping bags, newspapers, magazines, labels and sweet wrappers.
4 / 5 4. Word recognitionLoad more
Next, you will notice that your four-year-old is able to spot specific words on a page that she has seen before.
But she still sees them only as whole words and probably can’t name the individual letters.
Most children build up a “sight vocabulary” of a couple of dozen words quickly.
5 / 5 5. Phonic skillsLoad more
Next, she starts to point out all the words beginning with the same letter.
This is the beginning of her phonics skills.
Eventually she’ll be able to sound most of the letters when they start a word.
And more sophisticated phonic skills develop from there on.