No doubt one of the biggest responsibilities of parenthood (or for that matter nannyhood, grandparenthood or being a teacher) is making sure the children in our care receive a good education. One of the cornerstones of that education is literacy. Teaching a child to read can be intimidating, but it needn’t be. There are some very simple and easy things you can do at home now with your young children even before they get to school that will help lay the foundation for reading and educational success. It’s a simple as talking, singing, playing, writing and reading together.
- TALK - Talking to our children lays the foundation of language and we don’t need to wait until they can talk back to do it. Verbalizing observations as your ride around in the car running errands is a great way to involve a baby or toddler.
- SING - Singing helps us to hear our language in a different way, breaking up the sounds and elongating them to a tune, helps to develop phonological awareness. Songs can also make stories more memorable, like “Little Bunny Foo-Foo”, which cultivates narrative skills.
- PLAY - Fred Rogers (aka Mr. Rogers) once said that “play is the real work of childhood”. Through playing children learn cause and effect, problem solving skills, and yes, language boosting skills that will help them with reading down the road.
- WRITE - Getting our ideas down in written form is a huge part of human communication, be it hand-written or typed. Dots, lines and scribbles on paper become letters and images that represent stories. We learn through watching others, and from writing ourselves, that words are important and valuable in relating to others.
- READ - This is perhaps the most obvious of the five practices, but it always bears repeating. Reading together not only supports all of the skills necessary to become a successful reader down the road, but it can also be a great way to bond with your child.