No matter the age of your child, the summer is a GREAT time to share the love of books! Whether at the park, on the beach or before bedtime, reading is one of our most treasured bonding activities as parents. For our children, learning to read is one of the most exciting and socially rewarding milestones.
Here are some of my basic tips & key strategies to help your child succeed in reading:
Track and Text Features Teach your child how to track words on a page. As you read, ask your child to track the words on the line from left to right. Also, read and point to each heading and chapter title. Read aloud to your children as much non-fiction text as you can get your hands on! Point out the text features: heading, sub heading, captions, maps, charts, table of contents, glossary, index, etc. EVERY time you read!
Word Families Teaching word families or word patterns is key to word recognition and increasing vocabulary. Play games with rhyming words- the sillier and funnier the better!
Example: hop around saying all the words that rhyme with "ILL" (i.e. pill, Bill, will, mill, still, etc. Make it a fun game in the pool or at the park. Silly non-sense words are allowed! For older kids, take a moment to expand upon the words you have created and discuss the meanings. BONUS: Make lists using sidewalk chalk to add the element of written words & letter recognition.
Use Rich Vocabulary Don't simplify your vocabulary when talking to your kids. Use rich, scientific, descriptive vocabulary and give the meanings as often as needed. Children have the ability to synthesize the challenging vocabulary they hear you use with the vocabulary they currently have mastered. Although children may not be able to articulate the vocabulary they hear, it is building exposure and prior knowledge that will help your child master rich vocabulary in books, in class, etc.
Have Fun The process of learning to read is a journey & should be a fun one! Use games and silly voices, and lots of laughter when you read. The more fun your child has when reading, the more often they will want to read.
I hope your children easily and effortlessly grow to enjoy the world and knowledge inside of books!
Meghan Bird is the founder of Soar Academics, a local education practice providing individualized academic support in tutoring, enrichment, test prep, education classes, and more throughout Hoboken. Meghan is a 10 year veteran teacher in the public, private, and celebrity homeschool networks of NYC. When Meghan isn’t busy working with students, she can be found running with her husband on the Pier or dining at her favorite Hoboken spot, Otto Strada.
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