As a parent or a grandparent or any other home caretaker of a small child it is important to play a role in their reading and writing skills. Today it is heartbreaking to see sharp young adults struggle because they happened not to have the correct exposure to reading and writing building blocks. Is this a condemnation of some families? It isn’t at all. The main problem is many families don’t know what is going on when a child is young and what they can do.
If you want to consider what a child needs from an academic position like what a teacher might consider you would use words like “phonics” or “spoken language.” Of course knowing what a word means is called “vocabulary” and “comprehension.”
Knowing what a book says is called “print awareness.” and knowing the alphabet is called “alphabetic knowledge” and so on.
The fact of the matter is that who we are talking about are caretakers like dad and mom and gramps and grandma. What can they do to help their child get a good “launch” towards reading and writing?
In this article I am looking at the needs of a child of about kindergarten age. There are so many good things to consider and the good thing about aiding in speech and writing is that it develops a great relationship as well.
To begin with it is important to talk to your child. Talk every chance you get. Don’t just go on quiet jaunts but if you go to the store talk about what is in the store. Talk about what you are buying. Let your child make up and tell you stories as well as talk about family pictures.
Show your child books and always look at the way the book is laid out such as paragraphs, words and letters. Start with the alphabet and try and create identity of letters first and then certain words. An effective way is to use words that rhyme.
Work with the child’s teacher. Find out what is being taught and emulate it at home.
One of the things my wife and I always found helpful with our boys was talking about a story that we read from a book. We would ask questions and we would identify things in the story. We might muse over what may have happened after the story in the book ended. In other words maybe Goldilocks opened a mattress and furniture store. The more outrageous the story was the better.
We have to remember we are a television and video game culture and we must battle that.
Our children’s future starts with their ability to read and write and it starts even more specifically when they start school.
It is an admitted challenge to spend time with kids because they demand a lot of time. However the reward is so great!
“A Child Becomes a Reader: Kindergarten,” Booklet National Institute for Literacy,” 2006
Personal Experience and Knowledge