Learn How to Read in Preschool

 Learn How to Read in Preschool

Child Must Be Interested First

Preschool Reading

A child that is interested in learning how to read can definitely learn how to read in preschool. The key idea to note here is that the child must be interested in learning how to read. Otherwise, the process will be painful for the child and the person teaching the child

There are specific skills necessary to becoming a good reader. The skills include Phonemic Awareness, Alphabet knowledge, Decoding Skills, Comprehension, Fluency, and Vocabulary. If interested, you can read a more detailed overview of this process here.


Start With Small Chunks

Learn to Read

For preschool, you will focus on the earliest and most basic of reading skills which occur in four separate steps. You will start teaching with a small chunk of information.  When the child learns the information in this small chunk, another chunk can be added. You only need to use one vowel (the short sound in the vowel “a”, like you hear in the beginning of  “apple” and “ax” ) and four consonants (m, p, s, t) to begin your instruction. You can use these five letters in blending and separating sounds, making words, reading words, and making books to read.


Step 1 – Phonemic Awareness

Phonemic Awareness

Step 1 – Phonemic awareness can be assessed first, before you begin actually teaching. You can find a phonemic awareness test here . Phonemic Awareness skills can be strengthened, if necessary, at the same time that you are teaching the letter names and sounds. The phonemic awareness skills we are interested in during preschool are: blending sounds (/a/+/t/ = /at/), separating sounds (/at/  = /a/ + /t/), and rhyming words (at, mat, sat, pat). You can find more information about phonemic awareness skills here.


Phonemic awareness skills are completed by hearing, not by seeing. You want the child to start

Phonemic Awareness

listening for the first sound he hears in a word. He does not need to know the name of the letter. He just has to be able to hear the sound he hears first. For example, in the word “mat” the first sound you hear is the /m/ sound. (One important concept to know at this point is that you do not want to add an extra sound to this letter. You do not want to make the /muh/ sound. A lot of people add an /uh/ to the letter sound. So /muh/ would be two sounds: /m/ and/uh/. You want to clip the sound and just say /m/ or /mmm/. Try making both of these sounds right now for practice. Do you see what I mean? Good. This will save you and your child a lot of trouble down the reading road.)



Listen for Sound

Have your child practice hearing the beginning sound in words that begin with the letters: m,s,p,t and the short “a” sound like you hear in the beginning of apple. These are the sounds we will be concentrating on for the beginning reading skills. Some examples of words to use for hearing beginning sounds are: mat, sat, pat, mam, sam, pam, map, tap, sap. Just say the word out loud and ask your child to tell you the sound he hears first. If he can not tell you the sound, help him out and tell him the sound. For example, “What sound do you hear first in the word ‘Sat’? I hear the /s/ sound in the word ‘Sat’. Can you hear the /s/ sound in ‘Sat'”? Continue practicing the beginning sound using the four consonants (m,s,p,t) and the short “a” sound (like in “apple, ax”).


Step 2 – Alphabet Name and Sound Knowledge

Alphabet Knowledge

The child does not need to know all the letters and sounds of the alphabet before he begins making

and reading words. He just needs to know one vowel sound and a couple of consonant sounds to begin. Right now we will be working on a total of five sounds, one vowel and four consonants (a,m,s,p,t). These sounds are specifically chosen for several reasons (which I won’t get into here) and are the best sounds to begin with in a new reading program.

You can make a set of review cards for the sounds. Use index cards and a black and red marker. Use the black marker for writing the consonants (m, p, s, t) and use the red marker for writing the vowels (a). One letter per index card. When the child can easily respond with the letter name and sound, you can add another consonant or vowel. Only use the five letters to begin with so the child does not feel overwhelmed. You will be teaching decoding skills using only these five letters. Later, the child will apply these skills to more challenging reading tasks.


Alphabet Knowledge

Start by introducing one of the index cards. Lay the card down and say, “This is the letter ____. When you see this letter you know that you should make the sound, ____. Let’s practice saying the letter name and the sound you make when you see this letter.”

You can explain that the letter you write is kind of like a picture for your eyes to see that matches the sound that your ears hear. So when your ear hears ____sound, you can write ____ for your eyes to see the sound that you made. After practicing this sound, introduce another one of the five sounds. Continue doing this for all five sounds. Continue to practice these sounds until your child can easily respond to all five sounds. You do not need to add another sound to the list until the first five sounds are mastered, and words have been made and read successfully with the five sounds.


Step 3 – Blending Sounds and Making Words

You will combine skills from step 1 and 2 that your child has mastered and begin to make words to read and write. So when your child knows the sounds for “a” and “t” you can combine the two sounds and practicing blending two sounds. “I make the ____ sound for this letter, and the ____ sound for this letter. So now let me try and squish these two sounds together and listen to what we hear, /at/” And then practice, /a/+/t/ makes the /at/ sound. Continue practicing using only two sounds at a time. Write down each two letter combination you make on an index card. You will use these cards for review and to make words and stories with later. You can make different two letter combinations with all of the five sounds. You must be successful with the two letter blending and reading before you move on to the three letter combinations. You can make pretend words as well because pretend words are really syllables inside a bigger word. Reading the smaller portions of the word in the pretend word is great practice for reading bigger words later.


Blending Sounds

When your child knows the five sounds, and has practiced blending two sounds together, you can begin to practice blending three sounds together. For example, if you are blending the three sounds in “mat”, you would begin by saying each sound separately, and then combine all three sounds into the word, “/m/ /a/ /t/, “mat.” Do this for all the combinations you can make with your five sounds. Remember, every word and syllable has a vowel, so every word or syllable that you make with these five sounds has to include  the vowel “a”. Use your index cards to make the combinations of sounds and words.


Step 4 – Make and Read Mini Books

Making Mini Books

You will then make and read mini books based on the words you made in the previous step. For example, when you have blended and practiced reading /at/, you can write this word on a separate index cards. This set of cards will be for the words you have learned. Keep your alphabet cards separate for now. Every time you combine and blend different sets of letters together, make an index card to read using this combination. Syllables can be used also in your word practice index cards.

Once you have made several word cards, try and combine some words to make little sentences. Only

use the words you have learned so far. You can staple several small pieces of paper together to make a little book to read. One page can have the word or simple sentence, and the paper directly next to it can have a picture for the word or sentence. The child can practice reading these simple books to anyone who will listen. This practice will help the child to be put the word into his long term memory and will help him to become a fluent reader.


Successful Reader

Continue to make index cards for each new letter practiced and learned, and an index card for every new letter combination or word. Continue to make little books using all the new sounds and words. Making the books and rereading the books is a great tool for building fluency.




Make these activities fun and engaging and your child will learn to love reading. The love of reading is a skill that will propel your child into a successful school journey that will evolve into the career of his choice.


Love Reading

You can find all this information and a whole lot more in:

Reading Blocks: A Step by Step Method to Teach Reading.



Learning How to Read

learning how to readLearning How to Read

Phonics Reading Program

Learning how to read is a skill that contributes immensely to a person’s quality of life.Teaching someone to read is arguably one of the best gifts you can give to another person. This skill will contribute to his experiencing a fulfilling and productive life. Teaching someone how to read can have challenges but it is also one of the most rewarding endeavors you will undertake.  So, congratulation! Good for you!

Learning how to read opens the doors to unlimited opportunities and possibilities in a person’s life which otherwise might remain closed. We frequently hear incredible stories about someone who reaches an epic level of success in spite of his or her inability to read. But for every amazing story of success, there are thousands upon thousands of stories of lives adversely impacted by the inability to read. Prisons are filled with men and women who cannot read. Maybe, many of them would not be in that situation if they were more successful in school, which requires adequate reading skills.

Information Age Makes Learning to Read a Crucial Skill

learn how to readThe ability to read has probably never been more important than it is right now in this “information age” of computers. We are incredibly blessed to have an unprecedented wealth of knowledge freely available to everyone. The only condition required is the ability to read and comprehend the information. This sometimes can be much easier said than done.

People learn how to read many different ways. Some people will learn effortlessly, using any program or system. Other people learn more slowly and laboriously, but continuously move ahead, like the turtle in the race. They eventually get the job done. And still another group of learners struggle immensely.

Progress for this third type of learner is usually very slow with possibly two steps forward and then one step backward. Some days it might seem like all steps are backwards. One day this type of learner knows a letter name or sound, and the next day, or even hour, this learner acts like he has never seen or heard of this letter or sound before. One moment this type of learner can read a sight word, and the next moment he cannot remember that same word. This third type of learner runs the risk of living a life of illiteracy if he does not receive the appropriate instruction. If this type of learner sounds all too familiar to you, don’t worry. Reading Blocks will work for all types of learners.

Decoding Versus Memorizing

Phonics Reading ProgramWhile testing a group of First graders, I observed one of the children reading a First grade level story perfectly. But she read almost too perfectly. Her style of reading led me to investigate a little deeper into her reading skills. I asked her to turn to the last page of the book and read that page starting at the last word instead of the first word. I wanted to see how she decoded individual words without the scaffold of the familiar story. She was not able to read any word on the page. I discovered that she had memorized the whole book, as well as many other books, but could not decode individual words.

Obviously, memorizing all the books is not possible, and this child was falling farther and farther behind. In her mind, reading was memorizing. On closer inspection, I discovered that this reader did not know many of the alphabet sounds, and could not blend or segment sounds.

A struggling reader learns to compensate and blend in with the other children.  Struggling readers have a myriad of strategies to keep under the radar of a teacher or parent, and also to keep from looking different. The longer this issue goes undetected, the longer it takes to rectify.

Ideally, a reading difficulty should be recognized during the second half of kindergarten. A struggling reader will begin to lag behind other readers at this time.


Lowered Self-Esteem

A very real and devastating effect of a reading difficulty is a lowered self-image or self-esteem. A imagestruggling reader can begin to feel inferior and start to avoid anything to do with reading. This avoidance eventually has a negative effect on other areas of learning, which continues to play havoc with the individual’s confidence. A person must internally KNOW he can succeed in order to be successful, and a person with a lowered self-esteem will begin to doubt his ability to succeed. Addressing this issue is a crucial factor in a successful tutoring plan.



What Does a Reading Disability (Learning Difference) Look Like?     

A reading disability is really just a learning difference. This learning difference can present itself in imagemany different ways. The learning difference can be severe or mild and everything in between. All levels of this learning difference have one component in common, the possibility of lower lifelong achievement for the individual. Even a mild learning difference in reading, not rectified, can decrease a person’s achievement in some area of his life. Maybe he will avoid reading in front of the class and later in life, public speaking. Maybe he will avoid learning a skill because it involves a lot of reading and later in life avoid a profession because there was too much reading required to obtain that goal.

Symptoms of a Learning Difference

  • He/She might have trouble learning the letters and sounds of the alphabet.
  • He/She might have a difficult time finding a rhyme for a word.
  • He/She might have trouble learning and remembering sight words.
  • He/She might know a sight word one day and not know the word 10 minutes later.
  • He/She might have trouble trying to sound out bigger words.
  • He/She might confuse or replace letters within a word (horse for house).
  • When he/she does start to read, he might know a word in one sentence but not know the same word in the next sentence.
  • He/She might not be able to recall some or most of what he just read.
  • Different fonts in books may throw him/her off completely.
  • He/She might pronounce big words incorrectly, mixing up the order of the syllables (mazagine for magazine, hostable for hospital, bisgetti for spagetti).
  • He/She might have no observable trouble with reading in Kindergarten and First grade and then fall far behind in second grade.
  • An older learner might show a noticeable difference in what he/she can tell you orally and what he/she will write on a test.
  • He/She might read painfully slow and as a consequence, avoids reading at all costs. He/She might learn much better when listening or viewing versus reading.
  • A common factor in all levels of learning differences in reading is that at some point the learner begins to avoid reading. This aversion to reading grows and the learner begins to fall farther and farther behind.
  • Another common factor is that all the learners with this learning difference can improve their reading skills. This learning difference is conquerable.


The Process of Learning to Read

Learning to read is a very complicated proceedure. When you take a look at everything involved in thisLearn How to Read process, it’s a wonder anyone learns how to read. But we do, and some people even learn to read effortlessly.

Our miraculous brains are wired to be able to understand that an abstract symbol can represent something else. Almost every 5 year old can look at a picture of a bird and make the connection in their brain between the picture and the real thing. He can also understand that this mark on the paper represents a sound. That’s not the hard part. The hard part comes when we take the symbol, “a” for instance and we give it a name, “AE”. Then we give it a sound, /a/ like in “cat” and another sound /ae/ like in “cake” and another sound /aw/ like in “tall” and sometimes it’s even silent like in “coat”.

Now that alone could make a person want to quit. But then we go on to name 25 more letters each having its’ own sound or sets of sounds. Then we start to combine all these sounds into pairs or groups which can then change the sound, /th/, /sh/, /ch/, /thr/, and on and on. And if all this isn’t difficult enough, we throw in words from different languages which have their own set of rules and pronunciations, for example “tortilla”.

Everyone Can Learn How to Read

Despite all these challenges, pretty much everyone can learn how to read. People are able to take these abstract symbols that we call letters, give them a sound, and combine the sounds to form words. We can then assemble the words into strings of words or sentences and form a coherent thought. Then we can string the thoughts together to form more complicated thoughts which transfer knowledge and learning from one person to another.

This system is advantageous to everyone. Just take a look at the improvements and inventions our society has made in the last 50 years. This is possible because of sharing and building upon past discoveries. A person today can read about another persons’ thoughts from a hundred years ago just by knowing the code they used.


Seven Components in Learning How to Read    7 Components Learning to Read

There are seven components to discuss when learning how to read.

To learn more in any of these seven areas, click on the link and you will find more information, as well as strategies to strengthen that skill.


Comprehension Fluency and VocabularyComprehension Fluency Vocabulary

Decoding skills must be mastered first before assessing comprehension, fluency and vocabulary levels. Often times a reader looks like he has an issue with one of these three areas but the real issue is his decoding ability.

Sometimes, a reader with good comprehension skills might begin to have a comprehension issue when first reading expository material like science. This type of reading has more challenging vocabulary and is harder to read and understand. There are specific comprehension strategies to use in this situation. You can find comprehension strategies on the Comprehension Page.

Fluency and vocabulary naturally improve when the reader reads more. Dr. Stanovich called this phenomenon the “Matthew Effect”. Strong readers get stronger while weak readers fall farther and farther behind with each passing year. This is why it is so crucial to identify a struggling reader mid way through Kindergarten. Fluency and Vocabulary strategies can be found on their respective pages.

The Most Effective Way to Teach Reading

Studies have shown that the most effective way to teach reading to all types of learners is with a
How to Teach Readingprogram that is:

  • research based;
  • directly taught in a sequential and cumulative manner;
  • uses multisensory techniques;
  • offers review and repetition as needed;
  • is phonics based.

In other words, taught in identifiable chunks of knowledge, according to a definite map of what chunks to know at what time and in what order, and utilizes a specific learning technique. Each new progression builds on the previous step.

Reading Blocks: A Step by Step Method to Teach Reading is designed to fulfill all these requirements. This program guides you step by step through the process of designing and implementing a reading program that fits the unique needs of each learner, instead of trying to force the learner to fit the program. Reading Blocks is suited for all learning differences including: Dyslexia, Autism, Central Auditory Processing Disability (CAPD), ADD and ADHD, and more.

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learning how to read








[Note: For the sake of clarity, the term “he” will be used for both males and females. Also, the person learning how to read can be any age from four to ninety-four, so I will refer to “him” as a “learner”, “person”, or “reader”.]