The five practices of literacy are talking, singing, reading, playing, and writing. These practices are fundamental to children’s growth as future readers. Believe it or not, caregivers are the best people to help their children learn these practices just by doing everyday things with them. Here are some tips to get you started at home.
Talk with children even from the time they are infants. They are listening and learning from you and are looking to you to see how words are formed and sound.
Think of a word and together with your child, find words that rhyme with it. Words that rhyme with cat are bat, hat, and sat!
Sing nursery rhymes such as Itsy Bitsy Spider and Humpty Dumpty. While singing, turn to your child and encourage them to sing along.
Clap to music that you hear on the radio. This helps children recognize rhythm and also can help children in the future when they are learning to sound out letters when reading.
Pick out a book from the library and sit with your child as you read. Make the experience something they will look forward to and not something that is a chore.
While reading ask questions about the book. Was there something funny that they noticed? Did they like the book and want to read other books like it?
Let your child engage in different types of play! One day they could be engaging in unstructured play such as having a birthday party for their favorite toy and the next they could be interested in playing a board game with specific rules.
While playing with your child do not feel tempted to “lead” the play. Give your child the opportunity to tell you what is going on in their mind and see how that influences what you are playing.
Have your child make a Valentine’s Day card. Don’t worry if you see scribbles, the mere act of scribbling shows that your child is working on their writing skills.
Ask your child to draw something special to them (this could be a pet, a favorite toy, etc) and speak about the drawing. Is there something there that your child wants to talk more about? They may feel that they’ve just drawn the world's tallest robot giraffe!
Try out some of these tips and help your children on their way to becoming readers!