- Opportunities to develop and practice emerging skills.
- Encouragement and positive reinforcement for their effort.
- Understanding that on-going learning is a family value.
- Parents and other caregivers to help plan learning activities
- Set a special place for reading and hands-on learning activities.
Developing Vocabulary and Language: Since oral language skills precede reading and writing, give your child daily opportunities to talk about what she's thinking and learning. As tiring as it may feel, try to answer his or her questions and talk about his or her concerns. Remember that a rich vocabulary and strong language skills are predictors of success in learning to read.
Here are some oral language activities that you and your child can do together:
- Look at family photo albums. Discuss special holidays or important events.
- Read and talk about letters and emails from family members and friend
- Sing songs that play with words.
- Repeat favorite nursery rhymes.
- Ask your child to say as many words as she can that rhyme with a certain word.
- Start him or her off with a simple word with many rhyming options, such as ball, hill, cat or sit.
- Play word games, such as, "I'm Going on a Trip", "I Spy Something" and "Simon Says".
- Make up silly names for household objects, i.e., vacuum "screamer" for a noisy vacuum cleaner.
- Encourage your child's imagination through puppet play, dramatic play, and other make-believe activities.
Preparing to Read Learning to read and write is based on an awareness of the printed word. Your child will learn that the spoken word (speech) can be broken down into small individual units of sound (phonemes). These sound patterns are represented by a set of symbols (letters of the alphabet). Finally, combinations of letters can be blended together to form a word (phonics).
Here are some activities to help your kindergartner get ready for their first day of school:
- Read aloud to your child every day for at least 15-20 minutes.
- Go to the public library or local book store at least once a week. This becomes a special event when your child has her very own library card. Often children will begin to develop a natural love for reading.
- Have him or her participate in the children's story hour at the library or bookstore.
· Read books about things he or she is interested in. Read from a variety of materials— story books, picture books, comics, magazines — both fiction and nonfiction.
· Read ABC books, nursery rhymes, and Dr. Seuss books are excellent. Encourage your child to "read" the repeated lines with you. They will begin to develop site reading.
· When you read with your child, point out how the words go from left to right. Let
your child turn the pages to help reinforce that pages are read from left to right also.
· Point out the cover page, title and author of a book. Explain to your child what
each of those features represents.
· Reread a favorite story and leave out key words. Ask your child to say the missing words.
· Ask her to predict what will happen next in a story or to tell what he or she liked
and didn't like about a story.
Writing on Paper:
Children progress from scribbling and drawing, to trying to form letters, to finally writing real letters and words. When your child asks you to "read" his or her scribble, you know he or she is aware that speech is represented by symbols (letters of the alphabet). Writing and drawing activities also help him or her develop fine motor control, as well as imagination and creativity.
Here are some tips for expressing ideas on paper:
· Have writing and drawing materials easily accessible. Include paper in different
shapes, colors, and sizes; markers, crayons, pencils; paste, tape, glue, safety scissors.
Keep supplies in a special box or place that belongs to her.
· Give your child old magazines and pictures to cut and paste so she can create
books on different themes — i.e., alphabet, colors, animals, toys, food, shapes,
· Let your kindergartner make his or her own scrape book by using photos or
drawings and dictating captions for you to write under each picture.
· Help him or her write/draw greeting cards to send to friends and family on special
· When your kindergartner is able to match sound segments to print, encourage them to experiment with putting sounds together to make words. Invented spelling is one step on the way to becoming a reader.
Using Technology: There are many other suggestions to help you as a parent build on your child's current skills. Remember the Internet is a source of free games and informal activities to help your preschooler develop emerging reading skills.