We KNOW you want to help your children succeed as readers. Good reading skills are vital to school success, and they begin when children are very young. Here are some things will really help!
- TALK, TALK, TALK with your children! They learn so much from you when you talk to them. They pick up thousands of words and learn lots of new information that way. Even the sentences you speak give them a model of how to speak correctly. When they READ later, they will know the meaning of tons of words they come across, helping their comprehension. They will know about the world and all the fascinating things in it because you shared information with them by talking about lots of things.
- DO, DO, DO with your children! Spending time with your children is a huge boost to their sense of identity. They feel loved and appreciated for who they are. They learn so many skills and gain so much knowledge from activities they do with you. That time spent together pays off in huge ways as they grow and develop. The things you do don’t have to cost money, either. Just being together (and talking!) while you work or do projects helps children grow. When they READ later about different kinds of activities they’ve done or places they’ve seen, they will understand that information firsthand. What a great way to help reading comprehension! Doing things together also helps their work ethic since they see you model that behavior. They are more likely to work hard in school and learn more quickly.
- WATCH, WATCH, WATCH with your children! Watch TV shows and watch movies and watch interesting internet shows together. Children can “travel” all over the world this way, seeing unusual animals, visiting various places in the world, and gaining lots of new information. This is immensely useful when they are readers. If they have some background knowledge about porcupines, the ocean, or Spain, for example, they will have a huge advantage in school later when they READ books or stories about those topics. (And don’t forget to TALK to them about what you’ve watched! This reinforces the new names and vocabulary they’ve just heard.)
- READ, READ, READ to your children! (You KNEW I would include this one since I’m a teacher!) The cozy time spent reading to children gives them a warm memory and a love for books. Read to your children every day if you can. The vocabulary and language they gain and the information they learn is PRICELESS for school success. Studies have shown that children with larger vocabularies and good background information about the world will do better in school. So, later, when they READ, they have much, much more to bring to the reading experience, and they find it easier to understand and truly enjoy books.
Belinda Pinkerton, Reading Teacher, McGraw Elementary School