Reading is a journey of 1,000 little steps—and maybe a few pawprints

Getting ready to read is a very, very big adventure, one that requires time and attention.

The Get Ready to Read! website, made possible by a grant from the Educational Foundation of America, offers some excellent information related to early literacy. One article titled “Understanding Beginning Reading Development in Preschoolers,” by Kristin Stanberry, offers some test questions to help parents determine if a 3- to 4-year-old is on track for developing age-appropriate reading skills, including the ability to make basic predictions about a story being read and to repeat it after the reading.

These types of reading comprehension assessments also factor significantly into the early-grade Common Core Standards being adopted nationwide, so it can be extremely useful to begin thinking about reading this way.

Though designed primarily for slightly older kids—kindergartners and first graders—the 48-page Get Ready to Read! tablet-sized workbook would also appeal to advanced preschoolers. It uses series of simple illustrations and asks little ones “What happens next?” to help develop predictive skills. The workbook also includes activities to help with understanding letter sounds, classifying objects, identifying cause and effect relationships, matching sentences to pictures, and more. The workbook’s tablet size and tear-out pages make it ideal for either at-home or on-the-go learning.

In addition to comprehension questions, Stanberry lists easy ideas for encouraging reading at home and offers a list of signs that may alert parents to the need to seek help for a child, including difficulty associating letters and sounds.

Learning materials that help introduce and reinforce pre-reading skills can help kids and parents alike be confident that all the essentials are in place. On-Track Beginning Sounds, available as installable software or Windows download, helps preschoolers recognize sounds and associate them with letters. It also includes a unique tracking feature that allows kids to work at their own pace, bookmarks their progress so they can easily pick up where they left off, and provides instant grading to motivate learning. A star means “great job!” A check mark means the answer is incorrect. Green and red pawprints track progress. Click a red one to re-do a problem and fix the answer. Three fun games also challenge and motivate: Tree the Cats, Deep Sea Dodge ‘Em and Three Nests Full.

What comes before actual reading determines to great extent, kids’ attitude about reading. Make it a happy voyage!