Read to your children! We have all heard this a million times. The importance of reading in a warm loving environment can not be stressed enough. Every morning or night show your child how much you love to read by reading to them. They will love this time together and will learn to love reading. Take your child to the library and let him choose books to read. Make it a point to stay for the library story hour and then to read the new library books as soon as possible. No matter what activities you do during the day and no matter how many times your child has been read to, nothing should replace your regular family reading time.
Dedication and Author Pages. Many children are unfamiliar with the dedication and author pages in books. Don't overlook these pages as they bring the human quality into your child's world of books. These pages let children know that books are written by normal people, people just like them and that they too can create books that will be treasured.
Create a reading and writing center in your home. Select a convenient place in your home to put your reading and writing center. The materials that you will want to provide will depend on the age and interests of your child. In this center place several of your child's favorite books, magazines, a small box containing flash cards and puzzles, a tape recorder, and other reading materials that are fun. You may want to include your pc or Macintosh. There are a lot of reading/writing games available and older children may want to go online. KidPub is an excellent site on the World Wide Web for older children. If you have concerns about your child's safety while they are online, there is a list of suggested rules to print out and put next to your computer at Child Safety. There you will also find discussions putting the issue in perspective and defining the risks.
For the writing part of the center you may want to include crayons, markers, pencils, different colors and types of paper, scissors, and glue. Encourage your child to play at this center often. You will want to rotate reading and writing materials often to keep the center fun and interesting. You may want to let your child help pick which materials are put in the center each week.
Teach the letter sounds. When you see a letter ask your child, "What does this letter say?" Then ask its' name. You want your child to have instant recall of the letter sound in association with the symbol rather than the letter name.
When teaching a single letter sound try not to end a consonant sound with a vowel sound. For example when you say the sound for the letter "M" you just say "mmm". Try not to end in a short "U" sound by saying "mu." Ending consonants with a vowel that isn't there can cause confusion when the child tries to sound out words. For example the word "mad" could be come "mu-a-du."
Put your child's words into print. It is important for children to see their words in print. To smaller children seeing their own words and thoughts in print is almost magic. It often gives a value to their words that they may have not felt before and helps them understand that what they have to say is important.
Please email your comments or suggestions. Thank you.
Karen M. Potter
Copyright Karen M. Potter 1996
6804-E Hwy 6 South, Box 381
Houston, TX, USA 77083