Parents and families play a key role in teaching young children the skills they need to be successful readers and writers throughout their educational career.
They learn about language by watching and listening to adults and other children, and by observing their environment. Reading is a perfect opportunity to spend quality time with your children. Children love to share stories with their family.
Childhood development experts recommend that parents and families take the time to listen to children’s stories. These stories, or personal narratives, can tell you a lot about your children’s language skills.
Also, talk to your children about the words that they see every day and point out meaningful words.
It is important for children to understand that words have meanings. By making a conscious effort to do some of these simple things every day, you can have a positive impact on your children’s language and literacy development.
Below are three simple tips for you to help develop your children’s language and literacy development, while at home:
1. Read with your children.
Children love listening to stories. When families read their children’s favorite storybook, they can use the time as an opportunity to teach some valuable language and literacy skills. All it requires is doing a few “extra” things during storytime.
Start by asking your children open-ended questions during the story such as, “What do you think will happen next?” or “Why do you think that happened?” This helps to build their reading comprehension skills.
Next, explain to your children words that might be new vocabulary words. Use words that you know your children are familiar with to help them understand the “new” word. Illustrations in storybooks can also be a great way to help children understand a new vocabulary word.
Then point to print, while you are reading to your children. Use your finger to follow along with the print. This will help your children to understand that we read from top- to-bottom and from left-to-right.
Show your children the book while you are reading it. Point out the parts of the book such as the front, the back, and the spine. Take the time to point out the title page of the book. Tell your children who the author is and what the author does to create books. For example, “This book is called ‘The Very Quiet Cricket.’ The author’s name is Eric Carle. The author is the person who writes the words of the story.”
Using some of these tips will help to enhance storytime for your children and provide an opportunity for you to build the important skills your children will need to be successful readers.
2. Listen to your children’s stories.
Children love to tell stories about themselves. These stories can help families understand how their children interpret experiences. Children practice their vocabulary and oral language skills by telling stories. It can be challenging to find some time during a busy workday to completely stop everything and listen to your children’s stories. During the ride in the car, on the bus, or train to school or on the way home is a great opportunity for you to listen to your children.
3. Point out meaningful words.
Children are curious about print in their environment. They like to read the stop and exit signs. They can recognize the family’s favorite restaurant just by looking at the signage. When you are out in the community with your children, point out different signs, and read the words to them. This will help your children to understand that words have meanings.
Teaching your children about language and literacy can be a fun family experience. If you or your family members can add a few of these suggestions to the daily routine, you can make a great difference in your children’s learning. You will be helping them to enter school ready to learn.
Finally, enjoy spending time with your children. These special moments will be cherished for many years to come.