Developing Pre-Reading Skills
Wheeling Their Way to Words
But before they pick up a book, children must also learn to distinguish between left and right. Growing Child, a newsletter chronicling preschooler development, suggests that learning to ride a tricycle can help.
Most children are mature enough to ride a tricycle by the age of two and a half. The pedaling they learn forces them to shift from right to left, which helps them distinguish the two different sides of their bodies. This is a first step in learning to organize the left-to-right dimension in space.
Children who have difficulty differentiating a “b” from a “d” or words such as “saw” from “was” have not yet learned to sort their left sides from their right sides. Once a child can discern his own left and right, he has reached the starting point for separating left and right on the printed page.
Riding a tricycle also teaches the importance of sequence order. As a child rides he knows he cannot pedal both sides at the same time and must learn to pace his movements. This develops the ability to
organize time which will help him learn to read words in the correct order.
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