Look in on any preschool class and you will undoubtedly see kids playing in lots of different ways, but what they are really doing is learning the skills necessary to be successful readers.
Here are some things you can do at home to continue supporting your pre-reading child to give them the best boost they can have
Word play: substitute the beginning sound of a word with another sound. (Remember The Name Game?) Have a Sound of the Day and use that sound when asking for breakfast things, or getting dressed, etc. (if the sound is /b/, ask for “boast”, “beggs,” and a “bapkin.”).
Rhymes: Make them up, point them out when reading or singing. When reading a rhyme, read all the rhyme and pause, letting them supply a word that rhymes.
Consider asking them to go put on something that begins with /k/ and rhymes with boat when getting ready to go outside in cool weather. Or ask them to bring you the thing that begins with /n/ and rhymes with bapkin (napkin)
Clap or stomp syllables: rhinoceros would have four claps or stomps (Rhi/Noc/er/us)
Sing and listen to lots of rhyming songs: Doesn’t matter if you can carry a tune!
Sound blending: In this activity, you break apart the sounds in words and your child tells you what the word is when the sounds are blended together. Start with familiar words, maybe names in your family: you say, /J/ /ack/ and they say “Jack”. If you have long names, start with a shortened version: Steph for Stephanie, for example.
Give them a category of words you are going to work with to help support them: things they wear, breakfast foods, names, animals, etc.
Move on to easy words with no category and mix them up.
Break words apart: Ask them to say a word without one of the parts. Start with compound words: (“Say snowman without snow.”) Move on to short words (“Say nap without the /p/”, “say nap without the /n/”). Don’t get rid of the vowel sound!
For many kids, this is a difficult task: visuals help. Take two blocks, Legos, puzzle pieces, plastic Easter eggs, and visually break the chunks apart as you are doing this.