Reading starts before children know the letters.Children learn to recognize signs, symbols and other written signs very early on. When the child learns to differentiate the designs on the bathrooms « men/women », in a certain way, he is already reading. Store signs and symbols, packaging labels, road signs along the highway are like « words » that the child learns to « read ». Point them out and name them.
Recognising clues, identifying objects and understanding the meaning of an arrow are abilities than can be developed by following a treasure hunt map, or by creating a course. Use a drawing to indicate to the child where he can find a surprise or an object. Place an X on top, at the bottom, to the right, to the left, in the center, or even an arrow to show « behind ». Add another coded message at that place to continue the game. This activity is a way of using writing to transmit a message before the child can actually read.
Using puppets to recreate a story is an excellent way of checking if the child has really listened! Tell the story again, exactly as the first time, or change the chain of events. Add a different ending; use a new word, ask the child to suggest a solution to a problem, etc. It is possible to create puppets with paper bags, socks, wooden spoons, or cardboard glued on little sticks.