“What does that word say, mommy?” The surprising sound of this question coming from your curious preschooler is likely to bring a smile to your face as your heart swells with pride. Could this mean your child is ready to discover the joys of reading? It just might!
Ms. Lisa, one of our teachers here at Little Footsteps Academy LLC, had a similar moment just last week. “Based on clues from my 4’s in class, I thought [it] might be the day to see if my friends could put ‘every letter makes a sound’ into practice and read their first word!” Ms. Lisa says that the kids have been hard at work with their letters and sounds, and that she’s been noticing little signs here and there. “It’s early… but I could tell most were on the cusp…” So, what did she do? She went for it, of course!
Ms. Lisa put up simple, 3-letter words for the students to try. One letter at a time, they sounded them out like this: H - O - P…. HOP! “6 friends could sound out words on my board! My younger friends are seeing the process, and that’s very valuable, because they like to learn from each other…”
It’s true that children learn so much from watching and teaching their peers, but they also learn at home too. So what can you do to support your emergent reader? For one, keep reading those books. (It’s obviously working!) Also, look for opportunities throughout the day to read words in your environment together- a street sign (S-T-O-P), the word “HOT” on your morning coffee cup, “Up” labeled above the elevator button- The learning potential is endless! Not only that, but your little one will love hunting for letters and words in the world around them, which will make learning to read an even more meaningful experience.
Wait, what should I do if my child isn’t “there” yet? You might be wondering. If this is the case, it’s okay! All children reach developmental milestones at different times and learn at different rates. It’s perfectly natural. Simply enjoy the special story time you share together, keep having fun with the ABC’s, and let your little one discover a love for reading when he’s ready. In the meantime, our teachers will continue to offer encouragement and authentic learning opportunities here at school.
Reflecting back on the experience in her classroom, Ms. Lisa smiles, “It [was] a very exciting day.” So what’s next? “Onward and upward from here,” is her plan!