Reading is crucial to a child’s development. In kindergarten we begin with small words such as “cat” and “pan,” teaching the basics of spelling and grammar. Many children embrace these lessons with excitement while others tend to avoid them, for one reason or another. Teachers are trained to notice the signs of struggle and intervene; however, many parents don’t realize that a child’s reading success can also be taught at home.
- Word cards have always been a great way to help children learn new words. Each card contains the correct spelling as well as the word’s correct pronunciation. Mix up word cards to keep your child challenged and help with any mispronunciation mistakes immediately.
- Read together. Sounds simple enough but we sometimes don’t realize that just by reading a story, we are helping our children learn to read themselves. They begin to notice certain words and memorize these words with the stories. Eventually, your child may come to you, ready to read the story themselves.
- Play games, such as dressing up as your favorite story characters and reciting lines from the book. This sort of role play activity sparks your child’s imagination and brings reading to life, thus increasing the fun.
- Ask questions about what you and your child have just read. Reading is not just about recognizing words, but retaining information from what has been read. Remember to ask the how’s, what’s, when’s and where’s from each story.
- Try putting stories to song. This is a fun way to engage young readers just starting out. Have your child make up a tune to read to the story to. You can even record the tune so that your child can follow along when your not able to read.
- Invest in reading software for the computer or iPad. Many companies offer software depicting popular cartoon characters, following out a story. Words are highlighted for your child to follow along.
- Have a word of the day. Write down words you want your child to learn on small pieces of paper and stuff them into plastic eggs. Each day, have your child pick an egg and use the word within.
- Come up with alternate story endings to get creative juices flowing. Each time you read a story, have your child elaborate on what may have happened after the story ends or provide another ending completely.
- Create a household library and ask your child to be your assistant librarian. Your family can help by coming by to “check-out” books and ask for recommendations from the assistant librarian. This prompts your child to read the books in order to make informed recommendations.
- Write letters back and forth. Make a “mailbox” and write letters to your child daily, asking for letters from him or her in return. This not only helps improve reading skills but can also further open the lines of communication as your child grows.
Education begins at home, so when you see your child’s willingness and desire to succeed, nourish it. Make sure your child has plenty of age-appropriate reading material and a quiet space. You may soon find that literacy begins to flourish.