Ah, the preschool years! Some of the most memorable, heart-swelling moments of parenthood await. Your little reader’s unique personality is starting to develop and shine through. Sharing stories will help your child develop empathy and social skills as they begin their lifelong quest to learn—well, everything.
What Does Reading Do For Your Preschooler?
When you read with your Sprout, you:
- Help them develop empathy and compassion by allowing them to emotionally connect with fictional characters.
- Provide a fun way to learn about letters and numbers as you help them spell, sound out words, and count.
- Give them a dedicated time to flex their budding imaginations. (And as they hear more and more stories, be sure to listen as they begin telling their own!)
- Teach them about emotional intelligence and give them the vocabulary to talk about their feelings.
You may have noticed, this exciting age marks the beginning of the “talk your ear off” stage. You may also start to hear some questions (so many questions!) about the world around them. Consider books your secret sanctuary: they get the freedom to explore, and you get a helping hand in explaining why brown is a color.
Although bedtime stories are classic for a reason, make sure you encourage reading during the day as well. When you go on walks or run errands together, point out signs and numbers. Make reading into a fun game! Preschoolers love to imitate, so make sure to show your child how much you love to read—even if it’s just a recipe or a news article.
Those closer to toddlerhood may have shorter attention spans, so be careful not to make reading sessions too long. Reading should feel like fun, not a chore.
What’s important? Making reading part of their daily routine. While they’re still working on the whole language thing, they might not always follow a story’s plot—but you can still help reinforce the idea that reading is a special, cozy time spent with you.
Your child will soon be able to begin reading on their own, so this is a great time to start developing literacy. Encourage them to follow along and read words aloud with you! You can also invent little games where you ask them to identify individual letters or objects in the illustrations.
What’s important? Stories with silly wordplay, inquisitive characters, and vibrant illustrations will help kids feel invested in the world that’s unfolding on the page.
How Should You Read With Your Preschooler?
Enthusiastically! As your kiddo gets closer and closer to that (bittersweet) first day of kindergarten, they’ll need to continue building their language skills and feel comfortable looking at letters and words. But it’s also a great excuse to spend some quality one-on-one time together.
Not sure what kind of books your kid will enjoy? Try picture books with a lot of repetition, rhythm, and rhyming. Seek out simple stories with settings they’ll be familiar with—books about families, friends, neighborhoods, and animals are all solid picks. For especially curious kids who ask, “What’s that?” as they point at about 100 different things a day, nonfiction picture books about space, the seasons, or dinosaurs are sure to keep their attention. And, of course, silly stories filled with onomatopoeia and humor are always winners—just make sure you do a thoroughly goofy, over-the-top reading!
Tips for Reading:
- Encourage your child to trace letters with their finger. As your little one starts to learn the alphabet, it can be incredibly helpful for them to see how letters are building blocks for words.
- Repetition is key. The more children hear certain words, phrases, and numbers, the more they’ll begin to understand how to use them when they want to communicate.
- Let them turn the pages. Yes, sometimes you’ll end up going back to the same page 5 times, and sometimes you’ll be prompted to read the last page when you should be reading the third, but that can be part of the fun!
- Start conversations and ask questions. Reading comprehension doesn’t have to be complicated! As the story unfolds, ask simple questions like “What do you think happens next?”, “How many clouds are in this picture?”, or “Why is she happy?”
- Ask them to choose books. While it’s fantastic to want to pass on certain favorites from your childhood, don’t forget to encourage them to find favorites of their own.
- Pretend reading should be encouraged. Kids are little sponges, and they naturally want to mimic just about everything they see you do. So if your child asks to “read” you a book, always say yes and try not to correct them too much. They’ll flex their imaginations and make it up as they go.
Ready to Read?
Discover our best selections for preschoolers in Club Sprout today.