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This blog is here for you to find fun learning activities to do with your children. We share great ideas we find and love on the Internet, as well as ideas we come up with on our own! We also like to share resources we find helpful.

To find ideas for your child, click on the age range blog label or on the theme/topic you are looking for (on the left side of the page). In each post, we try to list optimal age ranges for the activity, but you must judge for yourself if it is appropriate for your child. When you try an activity out, please comment and let us (and everyone else) know how your child liked it!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Promoting Reading and Writing Readiness

Aaahhh. Reading. I love reading. I value reading so much. I truly believe that if you can read and comprehend what you read, you can accomplish anything. If you can read about it, you can learn about it.

The elementary school that my son will be attending this fall gave us parents a list of things to do to help promote reading and writing readiness in our children. Naturally, I will comment on each bullet :)
  • Read aloud daily for at least 20 minutes. This is so simple to make happen. All you have to do is have reading stories part of your bedtime routine. This means you have to make sure you start getting ready for bed early enough to include this.
  • Read expressively. Use different voices. Use and enjoy humor in the stories to engage your child. 
  • Re-read that favorite story. This is a powerful tool for fostering vocabulary growth. It also gets your child familiar with books and print. Children love repetition! I know, I know. Sometimes it almost seems painful to read that book again. I have felt giddy on library day, knowing we would soon have new books to read at night. But the kids love it, and it is beneficial for them.
  • Have your child retell a familiar story. There have been nights that I have had Brayden "read" the story that we were reading for the twentieth night in a row. Even though, as a three year old, he couldn't read, he got every, single word right. It was amazing. If your child isn't prone to verbatim story telling, that's okay. Have her tell the story in her own words.
  • Encourage word play, rhyme recognition, sentence completion, and word and phrase repetition as you read. You can also do this as fun learning activities in the day. Word play can be confusing on the surface sometimes, so I will do a separate post all on word play. Rhyming is pretty straight forward. You can read books full of rhymes and you could also ask your child what rhymes with a key word in the story. For sentence completion, this is where reading that story over and over can come in handy. You can start a sentence and then stop and let your child fill it in. Word and phrase repetition can be done by you, but there are also a lot of books out there that repeat things in the story. Boyton books come to mind (Barnyard Dance), as well as Seuss books (Green Eggs and Ham).
  • Discuss the story with your child as you read. Note illustrations and story elements, such as characters, settings, and sequence of events. This helps develop strong comprehension and critical thinking skills. There are typically pictures in a story that are not spoken in the words. Ask your child if he noticed. One that comes to my mind is My Truck Is Stuck. The words of the story are about a man (well, a dog, but a man) whose truck is stuck. Different people try to help him and in the end a tow truck arrives. The pictures show that a bunch of little dogs dug a hole in the road that got him stuck. Then then emptied every last bone from his truck while he tried to get unstuck.
  • Use your finger to track the words you are reading. This reinforces the connection between the words you are saying and the print on the page. It will also show  your child that we read left to right and how to follow lines down a page.
  • Continue reading to your child. Once your child starts to read on his own, he still needs to be read to each day.
  • Use magazines and newspapers to cut out letters and pictures. Brayden did this often in preschool.
  • Provide writing tools like large pencils, crayons, and markers. Your child won't learn to write unless he practices, and he can't practice without the necessary tools.
  • Provide lined paper and blank paper. Again, your child needs tools to practice writing.
  • Encourage drawing. Encourage your child to illustrate his thoughts and memories.
  • Act as a scribe. Write sentences that your child dictates to you.
  • Encourage your child to write and illustrate books.
  • Encourage your child to write his first name. Now, this is very important, apparently. Have your child write his first letter capital with the following letters lowercase. The teachers said they spend at least half the school year teaching the children to write their names this way. It is so hard for them to get the children out of the habit of writing in all uppercase letters.
These are all simple, right? Now, don't get overwhelmed. I know there is a lot here. You don't have to do every single one of these things every single day. Some things, like reading, should be done every day. Many of these things can be done while you are reading the story. Start slowly. Start tracking the words as you read. Once you have that down, start adding some voices. Work through the list and add things to your days to help your child build his reading and writing skills.

1 comment:

The Book Chook said...

I think yours is great advice. Sometimes a list can be overwhelming, but so much falls into place when we read aloud every day.

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