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Tips for Early Literacy: 3 to 5 Years

Crawling and drooling are a thing of the past! Time to start preparing for kindergarten.

  • Find a quiet place at home, or turn off the TV and put away any tablets or computers.
  • Let your child choose the book, even if it’s the same one every night!
  • Ask your child to repeat words and phrases you say or read.
  • Read in English and Spanish, you can read the story in Spanish first and then go over it in English.
  • Ask questions during reading time: “Look at the lion! How do we say lion in Spanish?”
  • When visiting the library, let your child choose the books he/she wants to read.
  • Always read the title of the book, ask your child to pick up the book by using the name.
  • Count the pictures and ask your child to count with you.
  • After the reading is done, ask your child to recount what happened in the story. This helps develop sequencing.
  • Be enthusiastic about reading, give positive feedback to your child.
  • Try “assisted reading”—Read one sentence to your child and ask them to “read” it back to you. Use your finger to indicate each word as you read them. When your child is stuck, give them a second and then offer the word. The point of this exercise is to build confidence in your child. Once your child can do this easily, move on to reading two sentences before asking your child to read it back to you. This exercise will also help your child to memorize “sight words.”
  • If your child does not want to engage in reading time, don’t be discouraged. Read to them anyway! One bad experience should not mean the end of your child’s literacy development.
  • Find appropriate books for children this age so they can handle them and become familiar with books. There are board books that can stand up to bites, waterproof books for the tub, and soft books made out of fabric. Choose whichever work best for your lifestyle.
  • Practice phonics! Mastering phonics is the base of reading!

Milestones: 3 – 5 years

Here are some things that your child can do between three and five years of age. Keep in mind that each child is unique and his or her development should not be compared to other children their age. All children develop at their own pace, but there are milestones that every child should hit. If you notice that your child has not reached these milestones after a reasonable waiting time or your child stopped the learning process, please visit your pediatrician. Only a medical specialist can diagnose your child.

  • Jumps, runs, throws, climbs and balances on one foot.
  • Uses objects to pretend play.
  • Asks a lot of “why” and “what” questions.
  • Understands the concept of waiting and waits his or her turn sometimes.
  • Draws circles and lines.
  • Knows the colors.
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