The possibility of excitement and positive groundswell surrounding the notion of children developing reading skills earlier in today’s global environment is being snuffed out – snuffed out by those who promote a stressful sit down rote memory paper pencil practice sheets strategy in many early childhood learning programs today. This boring rote memory drill is not the way to go with young children. No!
There is a better way! Young children are naturally curious, hopeful, and interested in life! We can capitalize on our children’s natural optimism and openness to help them flourish as learners! At age three, children gain the most ground when parents and mentors who want to develop early reading and learning skills start with simply focusing on interaction, vocabulary, talking, and listening. Taking advantage of spontaneous, unstructured conversations that can be held with children are valuable to the development of young children.
When children talk with friends, with their parents, with other adults, they are taking in ideas, information, and gaining new speaking patterns. They get the opportunity to analyze information, solve problems, figure out things; they learn how to advocate for themselves, make judgments about the things that are said to them and form their own young ideas about the world around them.
Wise mentors can use this garden of interaction to incorporate intentional conversations, concepts, and skills that lead to literacy. This is the stuff of developing the necessary brainpower, vocabulary, confidence and thinking skills for early reading strength.