But I Can’t Read Yet!

Today we will be talking about how to use books with preschoolers,  even when they can’t yet read the words yet! Books establish the framework for life-long literacy skills well before the actual reading begins. See how:

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Welcome to a Micro-Training with Mother Goose Time. Today we will be talking about how to use books with preschoolers even if they can’t read the words! Every month with Mother Goose Time you receive a new I Can Read! booklet. Each child receives one of these books.

i-can-read.jpgYou can find tips on what children might do with a book – prior to reading words – by referencing the Skill Continuum at the back of the Teacher Guide. Each skill has a series of possible actions that your children might do leading up to being able to read the words. In particular, look at these skills:

  • Concepts of Print
  • Letter/ Word Recognition
  • Reading Comprehension

All children develop at their own rate, and age is not always an indicator of what they can or can’t do. Although Mother Goose Time activities are written to support a child typically around this level 4 benchmark, you can easily simplify or increase the challenge by seeing what the next step might look like for each of the skills on this chart.

1. Concepts of Print

Let’s talk first about Concepts of Print when using the I Can Read! booklet.  In Benchmark 4 it says that, “many children won’t be able to read sentences, but they could identify some letters,  a few familiar words such as their own name, Mom, and Dad. They can even start to identify spaces between words.”


And so, when you open the I Can Read! booklet, you could simply go on treasure hunts. A pointer always makes hunting more fun – so give your child a special stick for book hunts. You could begin with a hunt for spaces or maybe punctuation like find the period on the page. Then try a hunt for letters.

2. Letter/Word Recognition

If you check the Skill Continuum under Letter/Word recognition, it is common for 3-4 year olds to only recognize 6-7 letters. Try focusing on the 3 featured letters of the month when you go on a hunt so that you reinforce these letters in a new experience. For children who are comfortable with letter recognition, you can begin to move towards word recognition.

To help you with this next step, we also include Sight Word Pointers every month with the I Can Read! booklet. They go together as a set, but can also be used separately after the children take home their books. After a full year of Mother Goose Time, your children will have been exposed to the pre-primary dolch list.

Quick fun fact:  The Dolch Sight Words Sight Words are the most commonly used set of sight words. Educator Dr. Edward William Dolch developed the list in the 1930s by studying the most frequently occurring words in children’s books of that era. Collect all of these sight word pointers and word and photo tiles so that your children can find and point at sight words in all of your storybooks or even build their own sentences with the sight word and photo tiles.

3. Reading Comprehension

Finally, simply reading a story and discussing who was in it and what happened builds the foundation for future independent reading. Reading comprehension is critical to life-long literacy skills. You might notice that if you read the I Can Read! book many times, the child will be able to eventually flip the pages and re-tell most of the story from memory or by looking at the pictures.

word-letter-recognition.jpgIt is even a fun activity to have the child look at a new book and have him read it to you before you actually read the words. This will help you see how much the child understands about

  • how to hold a book
  • if he follows the direction of text
  • if he can use pictures as clues to what the story might be, and
  • if he undestands simply story sequencing of beginning, middle and end

So, enjoy reading today and know that children can interact with books in many ways even if they don’t yet read a word!


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