Friday, January 6, 2012

Using Pre-Reading Activities

As professionals, we all realize how important it is to encourage pre-readers and make their introduction to reading as smooth as possible. The best way to do this is to make the pre-reading experience as much fun as possible, yet giving children the opportunity to learn in small, easy segments, information that will help speed them on their way to becoming good readers. Devising and using pre-reading activities in the classroom can be beneficial in producing a love of reading that will last their entire lives.

Here are some pre-reading activities that might work in your classroom:

1) Have each child choose a book and give them time to study it. When they have had time to formulate a story in their minds according to the pictures, instruct each child to "read" their book to the rest of the class. This works best if each day a different child or two takes a turn and the teacher then reads the book afterward. It is fun and interesting to the children to see how close their stories come to the original...or how different they might be.

2) Plant some items around the classroom with names that rhyme, and announce that you will be conducting a rhyming scavenger hunt. Instruct each child to search until they find 2 items with rhyming names. The name of each item may be written on the board as they are found and the class can repeat the rhyming names.

3) Take the class outside with some sidewalk chalk. Ask each child to look around and spot something with a certain beginning letter. Ask them to repeat the beginning sound of each item, then write the first letter on the sidewalk with the chalk. See how many beginning letters and sounds they can come up with.

4) Bring items into the classroom, such as cereal boxes, cookie packages etc. and point to the words on each and ask the class what they think that word is. They will guess many of the words by the type of package it is, and they will feel a sense of pride and accomplishment by getting many of the words correct, yet they will be learning basic sounds and relating the appearance of the word to the object.

5) Have children choose pictures from magazines and talk about what they think is happening in the picture, has just happened, or is about to happen. In this way, pre-readers can learn about the sequnce of events and better enable them, later on, as readers, to understand and follow plots in stories. This will certainly help to make their future reading skills stronger.

6) Label all of the objects around the classroom, including separate areas such as reading area and play area. By viewing the written words for everything found in the classroom environment, they will be learning the words without even realizing it.

7) Have each child bring in a favorite toy or object. The child may then relate the story of how they got the item, where they got it, and who got it for them. Attention may be given to sounding out the name of the item and it might be written out for them to see.

8) Make a chart of colors. Beside each color, write the name of the color and go over this chart with students a few times a week. The children will eventually learn how the written word for each color looks. In time, you can show the class just the name of the color and ask them which color it is. Eventually, they will be able to correctly link the name of the color and the color itself with it.

9) Practice forming letters of the alphabet with different types of materials. Some fun materials to use are rope, yarn, cloth, pasta, twigs, dried beans or stones.

10) Ask each child to stand in front of the class and recite his or her name. Write the name on the board and concentrate on the beginning letters and sounds of both the first name and the last name. This is effective not only as a pre-reading activity, but as a way for the children to get to know each other better.

These are just a few pre-reading activities that you might find useful. There are many suggestions available online for finding other effective pre-reading activities or might prefer to create your own. Time spent using these and similar pre-reading activities in the classroom is certainly time well spent. Having fun with learning the basics of reading is a great way for children to form good reading habits at an early age. Fostering a love of learning and reading in your students is a gift that will last them forever.

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