Preschool goals

Children go through certain phases of reading development from preschool through third grade – from exploration of books to independent reading. Find out what children at each phase should be able to do, and what teachers and families can do to support their development along the way.

In preschool, children explore their environment and build the foundations for learning to read and write.

Children can:

  • Enjoy listening to and discussing storybooks
  • Understand that print carries a message
  • Engage in reading and writing attempts
  • Identify labels and signs in their environment
  • Participate in rhyming games
  • Identify some letters and make some letter-sound matches
  • Use known letters or approximations of letters to represent written language (especially meaningful words like their name and phrases such as “I love you”)

What teachers do:

  • Share books with children, including Big Books, and model reading behaviors
  • Talk about letters by name and sounds
  • Establish a literacy-rich environment
  • Reread favorite stories
  • Engage children in language games
  • Promote literacy-related play activities
  • Encourage children to experiment with writing

What parents and family members can do:

  • Talk with children, engage them in conversation, give names of things, show interest in what a child says
  • Read and reread stories with predictable text to children
  • Encourage children to recount experiences and describe ideas and events that are important to them
  • Visit the library regularly
  • Provide opportunities for children to draw and print, using markers, crayons, and pencils