- Print Motivation
- Print Awareness
- Letter Knowledge
- Narrative Skills
- Phonological Awareness
- Begin reading books early, even when your child is a newborn.
- Children who enjoy being read to will want to learn how to read.
- Let your baby see you reading.
- Make book sharing a special time.
- Visit your public library often.
Below is a suggested activity that you can do with your little one to introduce print motivation. You'll need a puppet or stuffed animal and a picture book. The goal is to introduce how to read a book to your child.
- Place the book upside-down where you and your child can see it.
- Bring out the puppet and introduce it to your child. Explain that the puppet is going to read the book, but will need some help. Encourage your child to interact with the puppet.
- Begin the activity by having the puppet look for the title, author and illustrator of the book. Since the book is upside-down, the puppet should ask for help from your child. For example, "I want to read this book, but first I need to tell you the title. I can’t find it! The book is upside down. There's the title. What does ‘title’ mean?"
- Continue the activity with the puppet asking for your child’s help reading the book.
- "What should I do first if I want to read the book?"
- "Where should I start reading?"
- "Help me turn the page."
- "Can you help me find the picture of __________?"
Print awareness helps your child identify print and introduces how to handle a book and how to follow the words on a page.
- Being familiar with printed language helps children feel comfortable with books and understand that print is useful.
- Point to each word on a page as you read it.
- Read aloud every day (i.e., signs, labels, menus, etc.)
- Use board or cloth books and have your child hold the book.
Below is a suggested activity that you can do with your little one to introduce print awareness. You'll need a sandwich bag, several empty cartons of food familiar to your child (e.g., cereal boxes, milk carton, or pasta box). The goal is to introduce how print is in our everyday world and how to differentiate print from pictures.
- Cut the front of the carton into 4 to 5 puzzle-shaped pieces.
- Place each puzzle into a bag. If possible, have an intact, identical carton in front of your child to see as an example/
- Put the puzzle together with your child. Ask them to point out the food words on the puzzle and say them aloud.
Letter knowledge helps your child identify the name and sounds of each letter.
- Help your child learn new words by talking and reading together.
- Help your child see and feel different shapes as you play.
- Point out letters on toys, food boxes and on objects around the house.
- Discuss the differences and similarities between the items above.
Below is a suggested activity that you can do with your little one to introduce letter knowledge. You'll need same-colored index cards and markers. The goal is to introduce letter shapes, names, and sounds.
- Using only the letters in the child's name, write each letter on two cards so that you have several pairs of cards.
- Shuffle the cards and spread them out face down.
- Ask the child to turn over any two cards. If the cards match, help the child name the letter. The child then keeps the cards. If the cards do not match, the child turns the cards back over and tries again. Continuing playing until you’ve matched the letters.
- Help your child put the letters in order to spell out their name.
Vocabulary teaches your child to understand the names of things.
- Read together every day.
- Research shows that children who have larger vocabularies are better readers.
- Talk with your child about what is going on around you.
- When reading, name pictures as you point to them.
- When your baby babbles or your child talks, listen carefully and answer.
Below is a suggested activity that you can do with your little one to introduce vocabulary. You'll need glue, index cards, scissors, and pictures of familiar items cut from magazines. The goal is to introduce the difference between letters and pictures.
- In advance or together, glue each picture onto an index card.
- Give your child two cards, one that has a word or words on it and one that has just a picture.
- Say, “Letters can go together to make words. Look for letters and words on your cards. Show me the card that has a word on it.”
- Help your child choose a picture with a word on it. You can challenge your child to tell you what word they see in the picture.
- Repeat with a few cards. Reinforce the purpose of the print in each picture. For example, say, “This cereal box has a word on it that tells us the cereal’s name.”
- Encourage your child to share things with you.
- Read favorite books repeatedly.
- Talk to your child about what you are doing.
- Talking with children develops comprehension skills that will help them understand what they read.
Below is a suggested activity that you can do with your little one to introduce narrative skills. You'll need paper, crayons, markers or pencils. The goal is to introduce how to describe things, events, and tell stories.
- As your child watches you, write at the top of the paper, “Today in school, I will…” or “Today at home, we will….”
- Ask your child to finish the sentence with a drawing of something that will happen that day in school or at home. You can write your child’s description of the drawing at the bottom of the page.
- Add actions to songs to help break down language into separate words.
- Being able to hear sounds that make up words helps children sound out written words as they begin to read.
- Make up your own silly nonsense rhymes.
- Singing songs is a good way to help your child hear syllables in words.
Below is a suggested activity that you can do with your little one to introduce phonological awareness. You'll need pairs of non-rhyming words, rhyming words, and a rhyming dictionary such as The Scholastic Rhyming Dictionary (Scholastic, Inc., 1994). The goal is to introduce how to identify rhymes.
- Model the activity for your child. Say a pair of words that rhyme. For example, say, “Cat-bat. The end of those words sounds the same…The words rhyme. I’m going to jump for a rhyme!”
- Say a pair of words that do not rhyme. Tell your child, “Those words don’t rhyme, so I’ll just sit down.”
- Play the game with your child, beginning with several pairs that rhyme, and then add in some pairs that don’t rhyme.