No matter what age your child is there are things you can do as a parent to help them learn to read and write. Here are some great tips to use, depending on your child’s age:
Birth to toddler years
- Talk to your baby and bombard them with words – the more words you expose your child to the richer their language becomes. Strong oral language skills predict literacy skills later on in life. You can talk to your baby about what they are doing, eating, playing with, you can sing, say nursery rhymes or talk about what you are doing. Talk with them during play. Expose your child to other languages if you are bilingual.
- Read to your baby – point to the words as you read, talk about the pictures and what you see. Comment on what they are looking at or pointing to. Talk about the cover of the book, read the author’s names. Pause and wait to see if your child has something to say at the end of each page. Choose books with repetition and rhymes.
Toddler years to kindergarten
- Model reading and writing – allow your child to watch you write the grocery list, write an email on your phone write a check, read ingredients on food labels, read aloud from the newspaper, read signs while driving, etc. Help them make the connection that words we say can be written and read, and this is useful in our day to day.
- Allow opportunities for reading and writing – make writing materials available, such as pencils, crayons, markers paper, writing tablets, etc. Encourage your child to hold a writing tool and draw or “write”. Show them how to write their name.
- Talk about letters – point out letters in your day to day and talk about how words start with certain letters (e.g. “the banana starts with a b sound, just like your bottle!”). Point out letters and sounds that are meaningful to your child (e.g. “Your name starts with the P sound!”). Play with sounds as you talk and make it fun (e.g. “ba ba ba bicycles!”) and make up songs using words that start with the same letter (e.g. “boy is bouncing on his ball ball ball”).
Kindergarten to early grade-school
- Ask your child to tell you stories – ask your child about their day and tell you in detail what they did/what happened
- Read to your child and have them read to you – have your child read a page to you, then you read the same page back to them if it was tricky. Take turns reading the pages. Sound out difficult words. Point out rhymes if you see them. Ask your child to point out words that rhyme.
- Ask questions – after reading a book together, ask your child questions about the story. Ask them to explain why something happened, or what could happen if the ending were different.
- Clap out words – find words that are multi-syllabic in books and “clap out” the number of syllables in the word (e.g. “ba – na – na”). Talk about the syllables in the word (e.g. “there are 3 syllables or ‘beats’ in the word banana).
Happy reading and writing!
- Speech, language, and reading – a starter guide for parents
- Steps your child will take to learn to read
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