The importance of literacy and reading has become realized over the past several decades. Today, being able to read and comprehend the written word is critical to success in so many aspects of life (i.e. work, school, even relationships). Many parents think that you can sit down and “teach” a child to read, but the majority of kindergarten teachers will tell you that is not always productive. What you can do, though, is teach them the skills they need to be able to read. Here are five of the most important things that you can do to help your child develop literacy skills.
1. Read to your child early and read often. Even infants as young as two or three months can be soothed by the gentle sound of reading. Of course they will not initially understand the words, but they will understand the tone. Make an effort to read at least fifteen minutes a day with your preschooler or kindergartener; younger children may enjoy several short “story-times” throughout the day in addition to the traditional bed time story.
2. Rhyme, rhyme, rhyme. Whether or not a preschooler can identify and create rhyming words is a large indicator of success in reading. Rhyming teaches children that you can change letters in similar words to change the meaning. Plus, as Dr. Seuss proved, rhyming is fun for children!
3. Focus on phonics. Phonics is the study of letter sounds; being able to identify letter names is not a literacy indicator. Work with your child on “blending” sounds together and ask your child’s teacher for advice if necessary.
4. Keep “child-friendly” books around. Repeated exposure to a book-rich environment can increase literacy skills as well. Make sure that you have at least some books that are “hands-on,” that you don’t mind if they get torn.
5. Be available. As with many other aspects of parenting, simply being available to your child can help them succeed.
Your toddler will often seem to be reading though he or she has only memorized the words after hearing you read out loud repetitively. Do not discourage this action as this shows they are eager to be able to read.
Beginning readers will often stumble over words as they sound them out. Let them attempt to decipher the vocabulary before stepping in to help. Assist them one syllable at a time. Making reading fun and a positive experience will give your child the desire to learn.
by David McLeod
Owner School-Supply-List.com and Elementary School Teacher
David has been teaching elementary school in Central Texas for over 7 years and has over 15 years of experience in online education related websites and blogs.