Reading readiness definition
Reading readiness is exactly what it sounds like.,readiness to read. Before you learn how to teach your child to read there are some basic reading readiness activities that you can do with your child that will help them prepare for the big job of learning how to read. Even though for the most part the beset time to teach children how to read is between the ages of 5 and 7, reading readiness activities and reading readiness games can be done with children as young as a year or two. That is because there is a whole gamut of reading readiness activities and many of them don’t have to do with that prerequisites for reading called learning the alphabet
Granted there are kindergarten children that have not had any readiness and they read fine, which is great. What you may not realize is that through life itself, these children probably got lots of reading readiness skills without even being aware of it. However not every child is born with the same set of skills and talents and the more we prepare our children for the lifelong pleasure that reading gives us, the better readers they will be.
When I say reading readiness this also refers to the skill of writing which is often taught at the same time as reading.There are certain basic skills that are needed for children to navigate beginning reading and writing and I will talk about some of them and what you can do to work on those skills.
As an adult you may not realize all the components that go into becoming a successful reader. Once we know a skill we often don’t remember what we had to do to get there and master it. some of these reading readiness skills are acquired by children natually as they grow, others have to be worked on.
I am going to be presenting a comprehensive list of the reading readiness skills that children need and what kinds of games and activities you can do with them to help them prepare for reading. Your child may not need all of them and you will be working on different ones with different children at different stages in their development.I will first discuss the basic skills that are needed for reading readiness and will then give you activities and games you can do for those areas you want to work on.
Reading readiness skills
- Motor Control and Coordination including gross motor and fine motor coordination.
- Auditory discrimination so important for the phonics part of reading.
- Visual discrimination - similarities and differences, recognizing shapes and sizes, seeing likenesses and difference.
- Figure ground perception, focusing only on what is in front of you and not everything all around.
- Directionality, knowing right and left, up, down, under, over.
- Attention span.
- Following directions
- Language arts and oral communication
- Exposure to reading
There are of course, many children that will learn to read without having conquered all of the skills above. As a matter of face you don’t have to make yourself crazy to make sure the children are getting every single one of those skills included in their day. However, if you are aware of the skills that are important for the children to develop and you have a list of games and activities to do with them to help them, then as a parent you can incorporate them into your daily schedule and if you are a preschool or kindergarten teacher you can put them into your daily lesson plans.
Reading readiness lesson plans
If you are a kindergarten or preschool teacher or even a homeschooling parent then you may want to take some of the readiness readiness activities I am going to give you and incorporate them into your lesson plans. You don’t have to make special lesson plans called reading readiness but, you can incorporate them into your creative curriculum lesson plans or any other kinds of lesson plans you are making for your children or students.
You many want to list the subheading like auditory, discrimination, and visual discrimination etc on the side of your plan and when you are putting together a plan or unit like for example on transportation, then you will know to include activities and games in the plan that will incorporate those particular reading readiness skills.
Reading readiness worksheets
Worksheets in general have become very overused and misused. There is nothing wrong if once in a while the children are given some worksheets to circle the different letters or to draw lines from similar and dissimilarar objects. Confining reading readiness however, to workbooks and worksheets takes all the joy out of life and pre reading itself.
It has become the lazy mans (or woman’s) way out of giving children really relevant, exciting, fun activities to do that will help round them out as a complete person. for some reason the worksheets seem separated from the child himself only concentrating on one small aspect of the child. If you want to save those reading readiness worksheets for when you area tired, stressed and don’t have the strength to do some really other great reading readiness activities, go ahead, but DON”T substitute them for the activities and games that really count.
Reading readiness activities including reading readiness games
Some of the reading readiness activities can be classified as just activities while others can be classified as games. I am however, going to include both the regular, ordinary reading readiness activities you can do for each one of the skills throughout your day. Plus I am going to include the activities that the children will look upon more as games.
I am going to list the skill first that these activities will be used to strengthen and will then list the activity or game itself. Some of the activities and games will be just that a listing, as it will be self explanatory while others will have a bit more of an explanation.
The development of a child’s motor coordination includes the gross motor and fine motor coordination. Children that are not so coordinated need special emphasis on these activities and they can be started with very young children just for fun. They won’t know they are learning skills that will help them learn later on.
Gross motor coordination will include activities that involves movement of the large muscles. Marching, skipping, skating and running are activities that children do naturally and it is important that children get to do this activities often and from a very young age. In this age of television, videos and computer games many children are spending more time sitting in front of one of these machines then getting out and moving their large muscles.
To make the movement of large muscle activities fun:
Follow the leader: Have them follow the leader tiptoeing, galloping etc.
Lifting objects: Let the children determine which is heavier and lighter.
Blindfold child: Put objects in bag and blindfolded child will have to feel object and guess what it is.
Feed the elephant: Have child balance peanut on end of a ruler and walk across the room without dropping it to the person at the other end who can be the elephant. They can eat the peanuts when done. (Or even make peanut butter with the peanuts)
Fine motor coordination is the use of the small muscles like the fingers. Many of the activites you willdo to help your child develop fine motor coordination will be in the art realm.
- Sewing is extremely valuable for fine motor coordination,
- Working with clay
- Pouring sand and water(if you are a preschool teacher you can use a special water.sand table)
- Peg boards
- Bead stringing
- Hammering and sawing (If you are brave enough to help your children, usually the boys who do this will not only get great fine motor skills, but a great feeling of confidence and self esteem boost by being able to use child sized tools. Even if all they do is pound pieces of soft pine wood together with nails they will love it)
Auditory Discrimination is one of them most important skills you will need for teaching phonics. Phonics is basically hearing the sounds of the letters and what goes together. There are many different kinds of games one can play to develop a child’s auditory discrimination. I would begin with the ones that have nothing to do with letters and sounds themselves as those can and will come afterwords.
Use of Music: Music is the most natural way for children to begin working on their auditory discrimination.
- Using drums let children beat out their names
- Compare loud and soft beats
- Clap to rhythms of songs
I remember taking a music for children course in college where the teacher prepared certain pieces of music and we had to raise our hands when we heard certain parts. If you can find music that has specific sounds of instruments that are obvious or anything specific that children can listen for then this is a great exercise for them to really hone in on the listening skills.
Hearing first sounds in words: After you have spent lots of time in other auditory discrimination activities you can begin cluing the kids in to the fact that different words start with different letters of the alphabet. As you walk in the street with them or cook in the kitchen with them or work with them in the classroom you can be noticing objects and sounding out the first sound it makes. the best work to start with of course, is their own names and then the names of their friends.
- Show items like a cup, say the sound it makes and then have them look for other items that have the same beginning sounds. You can move on to pictures if you are limited in items.
Following directions: For children to learn to follow directions it is not only an auditory skill but it is important for children to learn to follow. Here are 2 games you can use to help children learn these skills
- Simple Simon
- Going on a bear hunt as children follow you through mountains and caves, you give directions and they follow exactly what you tell them
Visual discrimination is of course, one of the most important skills a child needs to read. Within the areas of visual discrimination there are a number of components.There is recognizing various shapes and sizes, left to right progression, seeing relationships and likenesses and differences.
There are many, many commercial games that allow children to spend much time practicing learning likenesses and differences, learning shapes and sizes and colors, left to right progression etc. I am to mention just some of them as there is no room for the much longer post this would take.
I also want to mention the common thing teachers of preschool age tend to to. For some reason colors and shapes become these huge units in themselves. Learning colors and shapes may be important but, they can easily be incorporated into other themes and activities without making the color and shapes the theme itself. It is almost devoid of personality to do that and is done when teachers don’t really k now how to take a great unit and put all of the learning that children need to know into that unit.
- Color games – all children with green should hop or all kids wearing red should sit down etc
- Color games where the adult holds up a certain color and the children have to find that color on another object in the room
- Shapes and sizes- Discuss buildings and the shapes they are in
- Give them games where you have to fit the shapes into the holes talking about the name of the shapes as they do so
- Put 5 items on a table, have child close eyes, remove item, have him open his eyes and say what was removed.
- Put simple pictures in a sequence and have children practice left to right progression by telling the story following the left to right progression of the pictures
- Play games with them telling them to use left foot, right foot and hands. finger plays are also great for this
- Put objects on table and have children sort them according to relationships, for example: fa fork a paintbrush, a spoon paint, jacks a ball etc,
- Seeing likenesses and differences may be a great time to bring in some of those worksheets where they can notice fine difference in the pictures.
When children get to the part in reading where they have to memorize their sight words then these activitesi along with many sight words games will greatly help them in their efforts.
Language arts and oral communication:
It is also very important to include language activities for preschoolers since you may not think it is an important reading readiness skill but it is. Children need to build their vocabularies and develop concepts that they can use for oral communication. Below are some of the ways you can build up their language arts and communication skills.
- Name and discuss things that you see outdoors, in the home and in the classroom
- Trips: when you go on trips notice what you see on the way and discuss them and discuss beforehand what you think you may see on the trip
- Use descriptive words with the children like soft as , sweet st etc
- Bring in adverbs in discussion like noisily, quickly etc
- Use many creative stories and poems with the children
- Write experience charts about things they did and saw
- Have them verbalize about their artwork and block play
- Talk to the children as much as you can and encourage them to reciprocate
Exposure to reading
This is the last thing on list for teaching readiness and one that you can start with very young children and have it going on all over. In your classroom and your home.
- Read to your children from a very young age
- Take them to the library
- Get them away from the television
- Have charts and labels all around the classroom and home
- Label all of their clothing
- Have children make their own books. Staple of couple of sheets of computer paper together then have them draw a picture and you write what they say. It can be a specific topic or just free form imagintive storytelling.
That’s it for the reading readiness. i hope you can take some of these ideas and implement them to give your children and students a great and well rounded readiness for reading.