Engaging Reading Activities for Preschoolers and Kindergarteners

Introduce your child to a world of letters and words with these activities.

Jun 03, 2022



Engaging Reading Activities for Preschoolers and Kindergarteners

Jun 03, 2022

Somewhere between their infant years and first day of school, your child learns the fundamentals of language. They do this by first identifying the sounds that words make (called phonemic awareness) and then corresponding letters these sounds represent (phonological awareness, or phonics). These pre-reading skills are the start of your child’s path to literacy. 

At the same time, your child is coming into their own, eager to express their creativity and share their personality with others. Books are the perfect solution for honing your child’s skills while introducing them to relatable characters they’ll love.

These five playful reading activities for ages 3-5 make the learning process fun for both you and your little one.  

1. Fun With Letters

Children enjoy copying words out onto paper. Write your child’s name and have them copy it with alphabet stamps, stickers, or magnets. Encourage them to “write” using the letters. Your child will write letters backwards, spell randomly, and may hold their writing implement strangely — it’s all OK at this age, when a child is eager to communicate via writing of any kind.

The next time you are out in the park or at the beach, use your surroundings to play with letters. Take turns writing letters in the dirt, sand, or snow. (Save Scholastic Early Learners: Write and Wipe ABC 123 for rainy days.)

2. What Word Starts With…?

The letter-sound connection is one of the first steps to reading. Play a guessing game about your child’s favorite words. What letter does “p-p-p-pirate” start with? How about “M-m-mommy”?

Once your child guesses the letter correctly, see how many words you can come up with together that start with the same letter. Write the letters and words inside Peppa Pig: Wipe-Clean First Letters and Words, which offers extra support for making letter-sound associations.

3. Your Child the Author

Three-year-olds can be chatty; by age 4, it can be hard to get a word in edgewise. Take advantage of your child’s interest in talking by writing a book together. 

Start out with something simple, like describing a fun day at the park or visiting friends. Then, staple a few pieces of paper together and write out one or two of your child’s sentences on each page. Let them illustrate the book as you go along, and read it together when it’s complete.

If your little one needs a boost of creativity or inspiration, turn to Little Skill Seekers: 1-2-3 Draw! This fun workbook gives step-by-step instructions for drawing familiar animals and objects, which your child can color in afterward. In addition to sparking the imagination, these activities help sharpen hand-eye coordination and fine-motor skills.

4. A Different Way to Read

Reading aloud to your child is a must, but what’s even better is something called “dialogic” reading. That’s when you ask your child to participate in the story.

Before turning the page, ask your child what they think will happen next. You can also ask your child another way the book could have ended or how they would have liked it to end. For example, in the classic picture book Corduroy, what would have happened if Lisa hadn’t returned to the toy store to bring Corduroy home?

5. Just the Facts

Your child is becoming more curious about the world around them. Gauge their interests and steer them to nonfiction books related to their favorite topics. There are books a-plenty for young readers in this age bracket that tackle popular subjects — cars, dinosaurs, the ocean, space — in informative detail but with eye-popping photos and interactive elements.

Be an Expert!: Ocean Animals is but one example, featuring simple sentences and sight words that support reading skills.

Encourage a love of reading with help from our guide, which includes book recommendations by interest, tips for getting your child to read for fun, and much more. Plus, take a look at reading activities for 6- and 7-year-olds

Shop popular titles and learning kits for children ages 3 to 5 below. You can find all books and activities at The Scholastic Store.

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Developing Reading Skills
Alphabet Recognition
Age 5
Age 4
Age 3
Early Writing
Alphabet Recognition
Early Reading
Guided Reading