Skit Skat Doodle Doot, Flip Flop Flee
Everybody’s Reading at the Coconut Tree
It is an obvious fact that preschoolers are like sponges, soaking up everything around them and spitting it back in their own way. If you don’t believe me, go stand in a room of three to five year olds and make a comment about something being “poopy” or “sucky” and low and behold you’ll have an entire room of tiny humans jumping around and giggling as they scream Mrs. Smith said it was poopy! It’s an inevitability in preschool-aged children, and something that any person who has ever spent more than five minutes with a toddler understands.
The good news is that this sponge-like behavior can be utilized in a great way to improve upon a preschooler’s development and better prepare them for kindergarten, and eventually, the real world. The key is to not stymie this important developmental time in their life, but rather to work on ways to help it flourish by promoting literacy, preventing reading difficulties, and working in an effective way to prepare your preschooler for the next steps of their lives. While there are many proven ways to strengthen your child’s ability to learn, there are some tried and true methods, including (but not limited to) increasing your preschooler’s vocabulary. By utilizing words that you (as an adult) would use with other adults, you will provide your child with a strong wordlist to choose from. For example, avoiding terms like boo-boo and ouchie and replacing them with words such as cut or bruise will force your child to choose more “adult” words. Likewise, it is important to increase their understanding of the world around them by asking open-ended questions (What do you think this means? Why do you think he/she/ did/said that?).
Perhaps the best-proven way to enhance your child’s vocabulary and build an increased understanding of the world around them is to make reading a priority in your home. By selecting age appropriate books, you are ensuring that your preschooler’s developmental process is being sharpened both in and out of the preschool classroom. Not only does reading create engaging memories for you and your child, but it is research proven to be the best way to help children learn and grow as individual human beings. Reading time, however, should be dealt with appropriately and not flippantly, so as to promote your tiny human’s growth.
Several important points to keep in mind while reading with your preschooler are:
- Read slowly and with expression:
- Use your hands:
Kids that follow along with your finger as you read together will learn sooner, rather than later, that words are read from left to right, top to bottom.
- Point to pictures and ask questions:
What do you see in the picture? What shape is this? What color? What animal? Help your child learn to identify things that they don’t already know, make the moment engaging; make them want to discuss their reading time.
- Make sure that the chosen books are age appropriate:
A good idea for helping your child find the right book is to follow Scholastic’s (leading publisher of children’s book) recommendation to P.I.C.K their books (purpose, interest, comprehension, and know the words). (For more information and to better understand Scholastic’s theory make sure to visit their website).
And always remember to have fun! Not only does reading time become infinitely more exciting the more energy that you put into it, but this is your time with your child. Your tiny human isn’t going to remain tiny for long, before you know it these developmental tricks will be put to use. And while your baby might always be your baby, they won’t stay a tiny human in preschool forever.