Parent Talk >> Ages 3 to 5

Ages 3 to 5

Letter Knowledge:  Kids learn best by playing, not by flashcards, workbooks, or quizzes. Look for ways to play with letters—keep foam letters in the bathtub and magnetic letters on the fridge. Draw letters with sidewalk chalk or make them out of play dough! 

Children learn better when they are interested in something. So if your child loves princesses, talk about the letter P! If you have Batman fans at home, draw the letter B for them on a piece of paper. 

Print Awareness: Every now and then while you’re reading a book to your child, run your finger under the words of the title or words that repeat. This helps your child learn you are reading the words on the page, and not the pictures.
 
Learning to write and learning to read go hand in hand. Making little books with your preschooler is a powerful way to help them learn about print. Have them draw pictures, then write down the story they tell you, and read it back to them! 

Vocabulary:  When you’re talking with your preschooler, look for opportunities to use different words to help build their vocabulary. For example, instead of saying “car,” you might say SUV, convertible, pick-up truck, station wagon, or limo. 

Reading books together is a great way to expand your child’s vocabulary, since children’s picture books have more “rare” words in them than regular conversation. 

Print Motivation: To really help your preschooler get excited about books, bring home books about the things they love and are interested in. 

Have your child say repeated phrases with you as you read (like “just right” in Goldilocks or “chicka chicka boom boom”). This helps get them involved in the story, which makes reading more fun and enjoyable for them

Narrative Skills: When children understand how stories work, it helps their comprehension when they read. Use things you have around the house as props while reading a story. Then let your child play with the props—this helps your child remember the story and retell it by themselves! 

Being able to tell stories is a skill that helps children understand what they’re reading. After you read a story together a few times, let your child “read” it to you! 

Phonological Awareness: When you hear your preschooler use a cool new word, clap it out with them—clap once for every syllable. Clapping out the syllables in words helps your child learn to hear them, which will help them sound out words when they’re ready to read!

Kids love their own names! Have your child help you think of other words that start with the same sound as the first letter in their name.

Back to Parent Talk main page | Birth-2 | Ages 2-3 | Ages 3-5