Pre-reading skills

We headed towards the comfortable corner of the library clutching a couple of books in our hands and plonked into the sofa eager to devour the beautifully illustrated books. As we were halfway into the story, a little boy walked in with his grandma (who is the librarian, by the way).  He picked up a book and started reading.  Svadhi and I just watched in amazement at his excellent dictation.

Out of curiosity, I asked his grandma how old is he. He is only 3 years. I exclaimed: “Wow, it’s amazing he could read so well at such an early age”. To which she replied: “He’s not reading”. I stared at her not quite understanding what she meant. She reiterated: “He’s not reading. It’s memorization”.

I still couldn’t grasp it. She explained further: “Memorization. One of the important pre-reading skills. I read this book over and over to him and he could now narrate it to himself based on the memorized words”. How amazing! She recommended a couple of books that are great to encourage toddlers to story-tell. One of it is “Brown bear, Brown bear, what do you see?”. It started to make sense for me. With simple repetitive words, books like these help build confidence in reading.


Before long, she could recite the whole book based on memorization. The ability to dictate the entire book built her confidence. Her appetite for books increased by leaps and bounds. Even months after that, she could still dictate the Brown Bear book by memory.

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