The first step to teaching the above is strengthening the small muscles in the hands and wrists that are used in handwriting. This process is often referred to as building fine motor skills. You can encourage fine motor development by having your child use art supplies like crayons, paints, markers, glue and scissors.

When your child is ready, move on to pencil and paper. Build confidence by letting your preschooler trace simple lines and shapes, then proceed to letters. You can eventually teach your child to write his name by letting him trace or copy it daily. If your child needs help remembering how to spell her name, practice with fridge magnets, letter tiles or alphabet blocks.

Ideally, children who have been introduced to reading modeling behavior enter kindergarten and first grade ready and eager to read on their own. For most children, the formal teaching of reading begins in these grades. Most educators, homeschool or otherwise, use a combination of phonics programs, worksheets, and actual books to teach reading. These are all tried and true methods and can result in reading success. A relatively new methodology, syllabics, extends the focus of phonics programs on the sounds associated with the consonant letters to simple rules for correctly using the variable sounds associated with the vowels.

By the time your child is ready for kindergarten or school, they should be able to recognize their own name and other simple written words. The sounds of each letter of the alphabet should be familiar to your child, and they should understand the principle of reading from left to right, which way to hold a book, and possibly even be starting to read three and four-letter words.

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