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The Big Five Skills

The Big Five SkillsWhy are pre-reading skills so important for your child?

Crooning sweet lullabies, reciting favorite nursery rhymes, snuggling at bedtime with treasured storybooks…from the time our children are born, we feel the need to read to them. Reading is a way to feel close to our children, entertain them, and share with them the special times we experienced as children. Reading is one of our most loved and shared activities, and how well we read and how much we enjoy the process affects every facet of our lives.

Considering the importance of reading in our everyday lives, it is tragic to note that over a third of all school-age children struggle with learning to read. As parents, we are naturally concerned with making sure our children are not among that number, for we all want to give them the best chance at success in life. The ability to read well is at the very heart of that success.

That is why our All About Reading program starts at the preschool level to teach the Big Five Skills, five essential pre-reading skills that prepare children for learning to read. Research confirms that children who have learned these skills before they are taught to read have the greatest chance of becoming successful readers.

The Big Five Skills lay the foundation for learning to read.

  1. Print Awareness, the most basic of the Big Five Skills, teaches children how print is used. They learn that the characters on a page are actually words that have meaning and are related to spoken language. They develop a concept of how text is “supposed” to look and that it is read left to right and top to bottom. And, through lessons and a variety of reading activities, children learn that text is all around them in various forms. They begin to feel comfortable with what text is and how it is used.
  2. Letter Knowledge is learning and understanding the alphabet. Our program teaches children all the letters of the alphabet in capital and lowercase forms, as well as the names and sounds of each letter. Children learn to recognize the letters individually and out of order, as well as embedded in text. And they learn that the letters will look different in different text fonts and in handwriting. This knowledge teaches a child that the purpose of letters and sounds is to create words, and that words allow us to communicate. Familiarity with letters, sounds, and words also prepares children for learning decoding skills once they start to read.
  3. Phonological Awareness teaches children to hear and identify the different sounds in words. They discover that they can create new words by manipulating and changing sounds, and that each word has a distinct meaning. They also learn that sounds create syllables, that syllables create words, and that words create sentences. Letter-sound knowledge will help children decode and build words once they start learning to read. Moreover, research shows that success in early reading depends on achieving a certain level of phonological awareness.
  4. Listening Comprehension is the ability for children to understand the meaning of the words they hear and relate to them in some way. Learning to listen carefully helps children remember and retain what they have heard. In All About Reading Level Pre-1, we foster children’s listening comprehension by reading and discussing poems and stories, expanding their vocabulary, and introducing them to a wide variety of listening experiences. Listening comprehension is an important skill to develop even at an early age, because good listeners grow up to become good communicators.
  5. Motivation to Read  is an important skill demonstrated by a child’s eagerness and willingness to read. To develop this skill, our lessons offer lots of fun and engaging reading experiences. We also encourage you to spend at least twenty minutes a day reading to your child as part of each lesson. Research shows that motivation to read is linked to four key factors in a child’s life: access to books, choice of books, familiarity with words, books, and reading, and exposure to others who exhibit a love of reading. By teaming up with you to provide these experiences, we can help your child grow up to become a motivated and skillful reader.


We teach the Big Five Skills in fun and creative ways.

Preschoolers love the All About Reading Pre-reading program! There are lots of special games, creative little crafts, and charming story time activities to enjoy, so your children will feel like they are just having fun and playing school. Yet our program is carefully designed so that, as children “play,” they will be effortlessly absorbing these all-important Big Five Skills and be fully prepared for learning to read.

Have a question about the pre-reading skills? ask-marie.png

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