Monday, July 4, 2011

Book Talk

Find a short book that your child loves you to read to her.  Ask her to "read" it to you.  The words do not have to be exact.  Help her practice reading the book several times.  When she can "read" the book confidently, record her reading the book.  You can video her reading with your cell phone, video camera, or use your computer to record her voice.  You could also buy an inexpensive cassette tape player and blank tapes to record her voice. She will love listening, or watching her recording while she "reads" along in the book.
This is also a great idea for grandmas and grandpas that cannot always read stories with your child.  Record their voices as they read some of your child's favorite books.  This will create hours of story time with a personal touch.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Grip and Case Matter

     Your little guy is finally writing! You are so proud!  The first thing you want to do is be sure his grip on the marker, crayon, or pencil is correct.  If you do not correct the grip now (when he is 2 yrs.) it will be permanent by the time he arrives at school, and the grip will not be easy to change by then.  This could lead to years of problems with illegible handwriting.
            Another important writing tip - Teach him to write his name WITH LOWER CASE LETTERS and one capital at the beginning PLEASE!  Many children learn to write with all capital letters before kindergarten – great!  The problem is – most of the letters we use to read and write are lower case letters.  Even commercially made letter games usually concentrate on the capital letters – I’m not sure why.  Teach him lower case letters.  Capitals are mainly used at the beginning of each sentence and for proper nouns/names.  His kindergarten teacher will be sooooo happy if you follow these two small pieces of writing advice!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Word Play

It is important to you that your child learns to read as soon as she can.  Preparing her to learn to read is one of your most important roles as a parent.  The vocabulary she acquires before she learns to read will greatly influence her reading preparedness.  Play with your baby or toddler by talking with her.  Repeat nursery rhymes and songs together.  At first she will just listen, but soon she will be singing and repeating the songs and rhymes.   Encourage her verbal interaction with you in a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere.  Go for a walk around your home and find various items you use in daily life, such as a hair dryer, a blender, a screw driver, a radio or television, etc.  Talk about the item and how it works (use the internet to increase your knowledge, then teach her).  Use vocabulary new to her and explain and demonstrate the meanings of the words.  Encourage her curiosity.  When she begins to read, her large vocabulary will help her pronounce and comprehend the words she reads.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Write Away!

            As soon as your toddler is able to hold a crayon, and you can understand what he tells you he is drawing, get him a journal.  Try to encourage correct grip on the writing instrument from the beginning (practice makes permanent).  After an outing, ordinary or special, ask your child to write a story about it.  When very young, he will just scribble.  Ask him to tell you his story.  Write the words of his story (even if you just label each scribble he has drawn).  Read it to him, pointing to the words as you read.  Ask him to “read” his story to you often, helping him point to the words you have written.  Encourage “story writing” as often as you can.  Eventually, the scribble turns to actual pictures, then to pictures with letters, and ultimately to pictures with words and sentences.  Do not wait until he is “old enough” to write.  If you are worried about crayon on your walls, put him in the high chair to write and put the crayons away when he is done.  No matter how young your child is, reading and writing go together.  So start writing, right away!   

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Toddler Talk

Ask your child to tell you a story.  Give her a prompt such as, "Tell me a birthday story", or “Tell me a story about going to see Grandma”.  Use any subject you can think of, such as: the park, vacations, visiting a friend, holidays, day care, playing with toys, etc.  Teach her to have a beginning, middle, and an ending. Help her be imaginative (fiction) or tell a true story (non-fiction).  Encourage new vocabulary, helping her understand new meanings and phrases.  Someday she will be reading and writing stories and your “toddler talks” will help understand what she is reading and to express herself well when writing.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Make Your Own (reading) Adventures

      Turn daily errands into reading/vocabulary adventures with your child.  Need to go to the grocery store?  Ask your child to help you find items on your list.  Be sure he sees you reading your list; in fact, ask him to help you read it.  Do you need milk? Ask him to help you find the milk.  Show him the words on the jug.  Need cereal?  He can help find the cereal isle and read the product name on the box.  Showing your child how important letters and words are, help build pre-reading and vocabulary skills.
      Do you need gas for your car?  Ask your child to help you find the gas station.  Point out the words on the sign, the numbers on the gas pump, the words and numbers on your receipt.  Reading is important to you, so share your excitement for reading every chance you can.  The opportunity for sharing environmental print (words in our world all around) occur everyday.  Have fun introducing your child to reading wherever you are.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Talk with your child

I know this sounds silly to tell you to talk with your child, but many parents talk at their children instead of talking with their children.  If you are watching a video, stop the show and ask your child who his favorite character is; when at the park, ask your child her favorite part of the play structure; when reading a book, ask your child what happened at the end of the story.  The list of "talking opportunities" is endless.  Language acquisition (or learning to speak) is very important in learning to read.  A child has a difficult time learning to read words that are not in her vocabulary.  Build vocabulary everyday by talking with your child.  The more you talk (and listen) the more vocabulary your child will know and use.