How to Teach Preschoolers to Read

In the early years of a child’s life, the foundations of literacy are laid.

Teaching preschoolers to read is not just an educational endeavor; it’s a journey of exploration and discovery, a voyage into the enchanting world of words and imagination.

This comprehensive guide on how to teach preschoolers to read, we embark on this educational odyssey, unveiling a treasure trove of strategies and activities designed to nurture young minds and cultivate a love for reading.

Phonemic Awareness– “I Spy” games for sound recognition
– Sound blending activities
Letter Recognition– Alphabet songs and books
– Associating letters with familiar words
Phonics– Introducing CVC words (e.g., “cat”)
– Using letter magnets or flashcards
Sight Words– Teaching high-frequency sight words
– Flashcards and repetition
Reading Aloud– Regularly reading age-appropriate books
– Encouraging questions and discussions
Interactive Reading– Asking open-ended questions about stories
– Promoting comprehension and discussion
Phonemic Segmentation– Breaking words into individual sounds
– Identifying sounds in words (e.g., “cat”)
Word Families– Introducing word families (e.g., -at, -an)
– Creating new words by changing sounds
Writing Practice– Scribbling and drawing practice
– Writing letters and simple words
Word Games– Rhyming games
– Memory matching (word-picture matching)
– Word bingo
Library Visits– Regular library visits to explore books
– Participating in library storytime
Patience and Positivity– Positive reinforcement for achievements
– Celebrating progress and effort
Consistency– Making reading a daily routine
Model Reading– Setting an example by reading yourself
Adjust to Their Pace– Adapting teaching approach to child’s needs
– Recognizing individual learning pace

Related: 20 Easy Fruit Salad Activities For Preschool

15 Ways Teach Preschoolers to Read

How to Teach Preschoolers to Read

Here are some effective strategies and techniques for teaching preschoolers to read.

Reading Aloud

Reading aloud to preschoolers is one of the most effective ways to promote early literacy. It helps develop vocabulary, comprehension, and print awareness. When reading aloud, try to use different voices for different characters and ask questions about the story. This will help keep your child engaged and promote comprehension.


Singing is another great way to promote early literacy. Songs can help develop phonemic awareness and vocabulary. Singing also helps children remember information better than just speaking. You can sing nursery rhymes, alphabet songs, and other children’s songs.

Play-based Learning

Preschoolers learn best through play-based learning. Use games, puzzles, and other activities to promote early literacy. For example, you can play “I Spy” to develop phonemic awareness or use letter blocks to help your child learn the letters of the alphabet.

Letter Recognition

Letter recognition is an important early literacy skill. You can help your child learn the letters of the alphabet by pointing them out in everyday situations. For example, you can point out letters on signs, in books, or on food packaging. You can also use letter magnets on the refrigerator or a letter puzzle.

Related: How to Teach Letter Recognition to Struggling Students

Related: What Order to Teach Letters to Preschoolers?

Phonics Instruction

Phonics instruction is teaching children the relationship between letters and sounds. It is important to start with the basics, such as teaching the sounds of the letters in the child’s name. Once the child has mastered these sounds, move on to simple three-letter words such as cat, dog, and hat.

Sight Words

Sight words are common words that children need to know by sight. These are words that cannot be sounded out phonetically, such as “the,” “and,” and “is.” You can help your child learn sight words by writing them on index cards and playing games such as memory or go fish.

Related: How to Teach Sight Words to Struggling Readers

Reading Programs

There are many reading programs available for preschoolers, such as ABCmouse and Reading Eggs. These programs provide a fun and interactive way to develop early literacy skills. They often include activities such as reading games, puzzles, and songs.

Environmental Print

Environmental print refers to words and logos that children see in their everyday environment, such as McDonald’s, Stop, and Coca-Cola. You can use environmental print to help your child develop print awareness and letter recognition. For example, you can point out the letters in the McDonald’s logo or the stop sign.

Reading Together

Reading together is a great way to promote early literacy and strengthen the bond between parent and child. You can take turns reading pages or sentences and ask questions about the story. This will help promote comprehension and critical thinking skills.

Writing Activities

Writing activities can help promote early literacy skills. You can encourage your child to write their name or other words they know. You can also have your child write letters or draw pictures to accompany a story that you read together.

Related: How to Teach a Child to Write their Name

Phonemic Awareness

Activities Phonemic awareness activities are important for helping children develop the ability to hear and manipulate the individual sounds in words. You can play games such as “I Spy” or “What’s in the Bag?” to help develop phonemic awareness.

Word Families

Word families are groups of words that share a common sound or spelling pattern, such as cat, hat, and mat. You can use word families to help your child learn to read by practicing sounding out and reading words in the same family.

Comprehension Strategies

Teaching comprehension strategies can help your child understand what they are reading. You can use strategies such as predicting, summarizing, and asking questions to promote comprehension.

Reading Logs

Keeping a reading log can help your child track their progress and develop a love for reading. You can encourage your child to write down the title of the book, the author, and their favorite part of the story.

Reading Challenges

Reading challenges can be a fun way to motivate your child to read. You can set a goal for your child to read a certain number of books or pages and reward them when they reach their goal.


Teaching preschoolers to read is an important step in developing early literacy skills.

By using effective strategies and techniques, parents and educators can help children develop phonemic awareness, vocabulary, print awareness, alphabet knowledge, and comprehension.

By promoting early literacy skills, we can help children succeed academically and in life.


  1. Bus, A. G., van IJzendoorn, M. H., & Pellegrini, A. D. (1995). Joint book reading makes for success in learning to read: A meta-analysis on intergenerational transmission of literacy. Review of Educational Research, 65(1), 1-21.

This meta-analysis found that joint book reading between parents and young children is associated with increased literacy skills, including phonemic awareness, print awareness, and vocabulary.

  1. Justice, L. M., & Ezell, H. K. (2002). Use of storybook reading to increase print awareness in at-risk children. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 11(1), 17-29.

This study found that using storybook reading with at-risk preschoolers increased print awareness, including recognition of letters and words.

  1. Piasta, S. B., & Wagner, R. K. (2010). Developing early literacy skills: A meta-analysis of alphabet learning and instruction. Reading Research Quarterly, 45(1), 8-38.

This meta-analysis found that instruction in letter name and sound knowledge is effective for improving early literacy skills, including phonemic awareness, print awareness, and word reading.

  1. Whitehurst, G. J., Falco, F. L., Lonigan, C. J., Fischel, J. E., DeBaryshe, B. D., Valdez-Menchaca, M. C., & Caulfield, M. (1988). Accelerating language development through picture book reading. Developmental Psychology, 24(4), 552-558.

This study found that reading picture books with preschoolers is associated with increased language development, including vocabulary and syntax.

Sohaib Hasan Shah

Sohaib's journey includes 10+ years of teaching and counseling experience at BCSS School in elementary and middle schools, coupled with a BBA (Hons) with a minor in Educational Psychology from Curtin University (Australia) . In his free time, he cherishes quality moments with his family, reveling in the joys and challenges of parenthood. His three daughters have not only enriched his personal life but also deepened his understanding of the importance of effective education and communication, spurring him to make a meaningful impact in the world of education.

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