Ways to Help Your Child Read and Write
Your child is being immersed and surrounded by print in Kindergarten -- the reading and writing
process is modeled every day. Children need encouragement in all of their attempts at reading and writing, just
as when they were just beginning to learn to talk. Here are some ideas you can work on at home:
Write yourself notes: Write grocery lists, "To Do" lists, letters, etc. in the presence
of your child. You are modeling writing in front of your child and he/she sees that writing is a useful "tool."
As your child becomes able to write letters/simple words, have him/her help you in making the lists.
"Picture Walk" with books before you read them: Look through a book together before
reading it, having your child "talk" themselves through the pictures to see if he/she can connect some meaning of the story
before you actually read it together. While you read, make sure to run your finger under the words so that your child's attention
is called to the words/print. This teaches the concept of print and how it words, from left to right, and top to bottom.
Help your child make books: Staple plain paper together and let your child go at it -- the
child illustrates and you write his/her words or help them to write the words. Try making an ABC book, or a book about
a special event, or even a category book (about a certain kind of thing -- like things that are red, things that are wet,
Encourage your child to write independently: Current research supports the idea that
writing actually comes before reading in development. Though your child's first attempts at writing may not be readable
to you, it's important to encourage him/her in their attempts and to ask what it says. We will be doing a lot of journal writing
in class and any extra practice at home will be extremely beneficial to their development of both reading and writing.
Read LOTS of books: Taking the time to read together with your child will do more to
foster their reading development than anything else you can do. Make a nightly ritual of sharing a bedtime story before
tucking your Special K in for the night.
Play letter games with your child: Write letters with your finger on your child's back
and see if they can guess what it is -- give them clues like "it starts like dog." Incorporate letter games into family
walks on the beach -- ask your child to write the letter that the word "dog" begins with in the sand, etc.