Reading With Preschoolers

Mem Fox advocates reading with children for 10 minutes a day, which roughly equals three books. If you read 3 books a day to your child from birth, they would have heard around 5000 stories by the time they reach the age of five. Even if you read half that many, or a third, that is still a wonderful amount of sharing, bonding and learning that is taking place. The benefits of reading to children are many:

  • The human brain is most open to environmental influences in the first few years of life with 75% of brain development occurring between birth and the age of four.
  • Research tells us that children whose parents read to them when they are young learn to speak, read and write more easily.
  • Young children need lots of special one on one time with their parents and carers. In these busy times, reading together is a simple and enjoyable way to take time out from hectic schedules and bond with your children.
  • Books can help children discover the world around them. There might not be that many dinosaurs roaming the streets but there are plenty in books!
  • Story time can be one of the most rewarding moments you can spend with a child and one that both of you will treasure for years to come.
  • What preschoolers know before they enter school is strongly related to how easily they learn to read when they start school.

What do preschoolers need to know
Imagine learning to read is like building a house. You would not try and build the walls without first laying strong foundations. Emergent literacy skills are the strong foundations of reading. Children need to have these early skills before they can learn to read. Emergent literacy skills include:

  • Being able to recognise and name letters of the alphabet
  • General knowledge about print, for example, which is the front of the book and which is the back, how to turn the pages of a book and that (In English) we read from top to bottom and left to right.
  • The ability to identify and manipulate sounds, also called phonological awareness.


The Little Big Book Club & South Kids Magazine
Leanne Williams