Establish a consistent, daily reading time with your child. This is the most important stage of prereading: your child needs to master rhyming, increase her listening vocabulary, and learn how print works on the page. She will be ready for kindergarten with these skills in her pocket, instead of a wocket!

Kindergarten to 2nd Grade: emergent reading books, schoolbooks, picture books, and chapter books. Your child can get books from the school classroom and library. Augment his reading selections by weekly trips to the library. It is essential for children to have access to tons of fun, exciting, informational books. Research shows that becoming a good reader has to do with the numbers of words a child has read.

Did you know that only 100 words make up half of all print?2 Don't worry when your child rereads Dr. Seuss over and over. Even though the book may be simple, your child is doing an important work—becoming more fluent in reading those 100 words.

Your child should be reading out loud for at least thirty minutes per day. Don't forget to read additional books to him. When he listens to reading selections above his reading level, his vocabulary and concepts knowledge are increased.
Reading goals for children at this age are:
· Learning alphabet letter sounds to a quick, automatic level.
· Applying phonic skills by reading stories that incorporate those skills.
· Learning how to read out loud fluently.
· Mastering two emergent reading books per week.
· Increasing her sight word knowledge.
· Finally, being able to read chapter books silently, with good comprehension.

Does your child want to watch television or play computer games instead of
reading? Give him a coupon good for ½ hour of fun activities for each ½ hour he has read. Or, do some DEAR time (Drop Everything and Read) when everyone, including you, finds comfortable seats on a sofa or pillow in the corner, and curls up with a book or newspaper.

This is what I said to the exuberant mom after the seminar. "Don't read into
your child's ears while he's sleeping! His brain is busy organizing and creating pathways. Besides, your child needs to rest from having listened to all the wonderful reading you did with him during the day!"

Peggy M. Wilber is a teacher, author, and speaker with a mission of helping children learn to read well. She has been diagnosing and remediating elementary and middle school children's reading disorders since 1987. Her education includes a Masters of Education from Boston University and Certification in Early Childhood Reading Instruction from University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, specializing in integrating reading methodologies.  Peggy has worked alongside the team at Cook Ministries to create Rocket Readers a biblically based reading program designed to teach children to read using Scripture. Visit

1. See The Best of Reading Programs.
2. Edward Fry, Jacqueline Kress, and Dona Lee Fountoukidis, The Reading Teacher's Book of Lists, 3rd ed. Paramus, (NJ: Prentice Hall, Inc., 1993), 23.