Ministry of Education, Guyana

Story Time for Preschoolers

Becoming a Reader

"Rattle, shake, screech, roar who's knockin' at my door?" Matthew tears through the house, a sheet over his head. "Boom, boom, in my room!" he yells. "A witch is flyin' on her broom!"

For the past month, Matthew has immersed himself in a world of Halloween books. Although he does not yet know how to read text, he spends time every day looking at books with spooky ghosts, goblins, and skeletons. He recites lines he has memorized from the many times his parents have read them aloud. And he makes up his own stories too. All this adds up to one thing: Matthew is becoming a reader.

Moving Toward School and Reading
Preschoolers know a lot of things they didn't know as babies. They don't read independently, but if they've been read to a lot, they know a thing or two about reading:

They know books are read from front to back.

  • Pictures should be right-side up.
  • Reading is done from left to right.
  • The language of books is different from spoken language.
  • Words have different sounds in them.
  • There are familiar and unfamiliar words.
  • Stories have a beginning, a middle, and ending.

All of these are emergent literacy skills, important building blocks toward the day when they'll read independently. How can you encourage further development of these skills? Just keep reading aloud.

Choosing lots of different books to read aloud will build your preschooler's vocabulary, and help your child learn about different topics and understand how stories are structured and what characters do in them. Your child also will learn that:

  • Text is words written down.
  • Letters in a specific order form a word.
  • There are spaces between words.

Understanding these basic concepts will help when kids start formal reading instruction in school.


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