So, I'm reading to my kids. Now what?
When you're reading aloud, ask questions like "Do you see the dog?" Comprehension is much more important than learning to sound out or decode words. Your questions will develop their vocabulary as well as cause interaction with the book. As they get older, ask them to point out things themselves and add appropriate noises to the story too. (i.e. sounds of animals)
Between the ages of 2-3 years, start asking questions before, during, and after reading the book. Ask them if they can tell what might happen when you point to the cover image or other illustrations. If the image is emotionally- charged, ask if they can tell what the character might be feeling. Even ask if they've ever felt that way too. Then, read the story to see if they were right! Finally, ask them if they remember what happened in the book. This really helps develop understanding.
Read for yourself...
Read for yourself! When your kids, especially active boys, see you reading, they are more likely to read too. It doesn't matter what you read. It can be a cookbook, your Bible, or a car magazine. Just let them see you read for a few minutes a day.
Find letters or words with your child.
Find letters and words in the real world. Look together for letters and words in the store, on signs, at the library, at school, in restaurants, in homework, on toys, in the kitchen, on clothes. Anywhere! Post their name on a plaque or the wall, using words as artwork or decor.
Ages 2-4 love this. Utilize as many senses as possible with letters. Write them in sand, pudding, or finger-paints. Decorate letter shapes withrice, beans, noodles, or paint, glitter, or sequins. Hands-on learning increases retention.
When crafting, talk about the letter's sound, rather than its name. Sounds are much more important to understand than names.
A version of BINGO where the card has letters or words in the squares, is a fun, interactive way to learn. There are lots of words games to be found. For older kids (around 7), you can even have easy word search puzzles.
Talk about different kinds of books.
Talk about different types of books. Ages 5-8 will begin to learn the difference between non-fiction (true stories such as a book about reptiles), and fantasy. And, they will learn to discern the difference between complete fantasy and fiction that isn't true, but could be because of the believability of the characters and their actions. Start sorting books by genres (types) so they will understand these variations.
Word family games are a lot of fun and they introduce decoding to your child.
CAT, PAT, BAT, MAT, SAT, etc. Ask them so sound them out. Of course, not all words will be phonetically sounded out. There are those pesky "sight" words. Creatively post sight words around so they will be memorized. Just a few words at a time will do. You can Google "sight words" and get tons of information and materials to help.
Please contact me and share what you've done with your kids with the world of words. I'd like to make this blog personally relevant to my fans. If it works, and is fun, we'd all love to hear about it. Just go to the Contact tab on my site.
~ Thank you,
Kathy J Perry