Pre-K English Language Arts Tips

Pre-kindergarteners are laying the groundwork for reading and writing. Here’s how you can help.

Family Reading

  • Read Every Day

    Perhaps the single most important thing you can do at this stage to foster your child’s early reading and writing skills is to read to their every single day. A recent OECD study comparing the role of parents in education in several countries found that the factor that best predicts better reading performance when a child is 15 is whether they were read to during their early years. So read as often as you can to your child, even if just for 20 minutes a day, and do your best to make reading time a fun experience that both of you enjoy.

  • Point Out Authors and Illustrators

    When you sit down to read a book with your child, start by reading the title and the name of the author and illustrator. This will help to familiarize them with these important attributes of a book. Soon your child may have favorite authors or illustrators, such as Dr. Seuss, and will be able to recognize their work.

  • Read the Same Books

    Make sure to read the same books to your child over and over again, over extended periods. The better your child gets to know a book, the more ways they will find to enjoy it. During one reading your child may just focus on the pictures. A week later, they may pay more attention to the story itself. A couple months later, they may notice the rhyming patterns of the words or focus on new vocabulary words.

  • Make Reading Engaging and Interactive

    When you are reading to your pre-kindergartener, make it as engaging and interactive an experience as possible. Pause from time to time to ask questions about what you’ve read so far and what is to come. Ask how they think a character is feeling or what they think will happen next. Make sure your child understands it’s fine if they guess wrong. The fun is in the guessing.

  • Discuss Stories

    Once you've finished a story, have a little discussion with your child about it. Ask what they liked best about the story, who their favorite character was, and why they did specific things in the story. Learning to talk about what they have read will be an important foundation for the critical thinking skills that will be so important throughout their life.

  • Pre-K English Language Arts Skills

    Pre-kindergarteners hear and understand language through conversations, stories, and songs. They also lay the groundwork for reading and writing as they explore books and other printed material.

    View More

  • Read Non-fiction

    Make sure to include non-fiction books in the titles you choose. Pre-kindergarteners are fascinated by the world around them and learn a lot about how it works from non-fiction books. They especially love books about animals (including dinosaurs, of course!), outer space, and trucks and machines.

  • Establish Good Reading Habits

    Reading skills will always be essential to your child’s academic success, so do everything you can to make sure that they develop good reading habits. It’s especially important that your child sees you and other adults enjoying reading. This will help them view reading in a positive light.

  • Use Songs and Lyrics

    Reading to your child isn’t the only way to ensure that they become a strong reader as they grow. Singing songs with them and familiarizing them with a range of lyrics also helps develop language skills.

  • Make Eye Contact

    Make sure that you make eye contact with your child when you speak to him or her. Adults are often so busy sitting at the computer, checking our phones, or doing household chores that we don’t pause and look directly at our children when they’re speaking. Try to stop what you’re doing and give them your attention when they speak to you.

  • Fill in the Word

    Fill in the word. When reading nursery rhymes, poems, or books with rhyming words, read the verse then let your child “read” by filling in the rhyming word. When reading “Hickory Dickory Dock. The mouse ran up the _____,” pause to let your child fill in the word “clock.” This will come naturally and your child will enjoy helping you read.

  • Encourage Writing and Drawing

    Encourage your child to write and draw as early as possible. Make sure they have access to crayons and markers. Don’t worry about whether they are holding them correctly at this point. The important thing is that your child learns to love using writing and drawing tools.

  • Incorporate Toys

    Using playdough and toys that require children to manipulate small shapes will encourage the development of dexterity in their fingers that will be important as they learn to hold a pencil correctly and to write.