Did you know that one sign of reading readiness is that a child knows how to identify his/her colors? In many ways, it is quite difficult to teach a child colors. The child either can recognize the difference in colors, or they don’t see any difference. Until the child’s brain is ready to see the differences, you cannot really get him to understand. One day it just clicks and the child can see colors. I wanted to write a post that has a few preschool color activities to help you teach your child colors!
The same is true for many other signs of reading readiness. You can teach the child a million times “this is the letter a”…but until the child is ready, the child will likely continually act confused/answer the wrong answer about “what letter is this?” One day it just clicks!
That being said, it is still good to continually find natural times to point out the colors, the letters and eventually the letter sounds. At first you just want to focus on one color or one letter. When the child understands that color or letter, then they will be more inclined to understand different colors and letters. A good color to start with is orange. Oranges are orange. Keep pointing this out. Pumpkins are orange too. Point out other things that are orange. Eventually your little one will understand -oranges are orange and other things are orange too!
My little two year old is just starting to get his colors. I have pointed out colors a bunch in the past – and he really would just look at me like I was speaking silly words. I’d say -this orange is the color orange. What color is it? And I would get this blank stare… red? It sort of makes you want to go a little nutty some days! Well, I wanted to make some cookies and I thought it would be fun to sort m&ms into different colors to add to our cookies. (I am known for doing this: red/blue for independence day, red/green for Christmas, brown/orange for Thanksgiving, blue/yellow for Notre Dame football (Go Irish!), the fun is endless. Anyway -so, we were sorting out the red and green to make Christmas cookies (post coming soon!).
I was working with my 2 year old and my 4 year old and I was actually quite amazed that he was doing it! He was putting the m&ms in the correct colors! I have done this activity with him before and was not so fortunate, but this time he understood! So, I would just do one color at a time. Let’s find all the red ones! And he found them, then we did green, then blue, etc. It was a fun activity, (and a sweet one too!). My four year old is working on his letters so natually m&m is a great one for teaching him to recognize the lower case letter m!
This activity is great for fine motor skills too! It is hard to pick up those little m&ms – (and children are certainly eager to do it!)
Other things you can do to help teach the colors:
-Add food coloring to a glass of milk and focus on that color for the day.
-When coloring, just focus on coloring with one or two colors.
-Stop signs are red. Point this out when you are driving. Point out the colors of the stop lights.
Here is a fun video to watch and dance to- (great for a gross motor reading readiness activity):
Also, find out if you child is ready to read using our free reading readiness test.
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Madreen Karle is a master first grade reading teacher with over 30 years of classroom experience. She taught reading in a special needs and English as a Second Language classroom. After retiring she wrote a reading program to help others learn how to teach reading. She is a trusted educator and author of 5 books to help teach children to read and write. In addition to her books, she is a mentor for 3 websites that give reading teacher tips (Mrs. Karle’s Sight and Sound Reading, Mrs. Karle’s Reading Patch, and Mrs. Karle’s Handwriting Patch). Through her teaching she learned that confidence was the key to learning to read. A child who is not confident at reading does not like to read and struggles to read. Mrs. Karle created “sunshine moments” to help teach children how to grow their confidence and learn to read.
Meeghan Karle Mousaw (Madreen’s daughter) has her Master’s in Special Education. She has 8 years experience teaching children to read online. In addition, she developed a curriculum to teach children handwriting called The Handwriting Patch. With the Handwriting Patch learning is fun because children learn to draw and learn handwriting at the same time. In 2019 The Handwriting Patch curriculum became an amazon best seller the first year it was released, helping thousands of kids learn handwriting with a unique, fun method. She is mom to 6 kids, each with differently learning abilities and struggles.
The Reading Patch was established by the creators of Mrs. Karle’s Sight and Sound Reading. Together they have been featured on the NBC media outlets and Parents Magazine online. Over the last 8 years in their online platform, Madreen and Meeghan have worked tirelessly with teachers, homeschoolers and parents looking to help children learn to read to become a trusted authority in teaching children to read and advocating early literacy skills. They often partner with other educational experts to deliver the most current information to the Reading Patch community.