Parents! You are your child's first teacher. Parents and caregivers frequently ask what they can do to help their child become good readers. If you are a grandparent, busy homemaker, or a parent working outside the home, these are a few simple ideas you may decide to incorporate into your preschooler's life to help them become successful readers. You will probably be surprised at how many activities you may already be doing together!
Please read, read, and read some more to your children. Reading aloud to them builds so many language skills (comprehension, rhyme, concepts of print such like where to begin reading, vocabulary building, inferrencing, etc.!).
- Visit the library often to read or to hear a storyteller
- Don't neglect the power of childrens' own names! Young children naturally like to see their name in print and have a great desire to know the letters in their name. Have children start with the letters in their own name when attempting to recognize and name letters.
- Also, use the beginning sound in their name as a foundation for building sound knowledge! For example, if your child's name starts with P, find other items that start with /p/ like popcorn, puzzle, pillow, etc.
- For writing their names, let children practice (first letter uppercase and all the others lowercase) in sand, a small tray of rice, shaving cream, pudding (Yum!), finger paint, glitter crayons, write it big with sidewalk chalk, shape playdough into the letters, etc. Have fun!
- Print is all around young children for them to notice and make literacy connections! Some print is already meaningful to your children such as names of favorite cereals, restaurants, toys, stores, and more! Letters and words are everywhere in your home, on the street, in the store, etc. - Make it a fun learning game in which you play "I spy" - I spy something with my little eye something that starts with the letter M or /m/ (say the sound the m makes) depending on the developmental level of your child.
- Place magnetic letters on the refrigerator at the childrens' eye level so they can manipulate the letters to form their name, group like letters together, etc.
- Create a letter scrapbook with your child. For each page, write the upper and lowercase letter. Have children hunt for small objects, environmental print, etc. that begin with a certain letter. Make sure to include photos of their friends, too!
- Let your children see you writing letters, checks to pay the bills, the grocery list, anything! Give them their own piece of paper, letting them write out their own list using kid writing (It's all right if you can't read it at this point - You are modeling for them uses/reasons for writing and reading which is much more important at this stage.)
- Create a writing toolbox to store fun writing utensils, different types of paper, envelopes, stickers, etc. for your child to have their own writing materials to encourage writing.
- Read, recite, sing, and act out nursery rhymes!
- Do a lot of language play - jump rope rhymes, silly songs and finger plays, and riddles.
- Create new, silly names - for example, if your child's name is Sam, his name could turn into Bam, Ham, Jam, Kam, Lam, Mam, etc.
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