“Children are made readers on the laps of their Parents.”- Emilie Buchwald
Your young child is at a stage of development where she is exploring the world around her with all of her senses. This is a good thing because those senses are essential for building the literacy skills she will use as learns to speak, read and write! These warm summer days naturally fill your child’s senses with opportunities to learn. Let’s look at how you can support your child’s multi-sensory literacy learning.
Literacy is a multi-sensory experience of sight, sound, touch… sometimes even taste and smell.
Listening: Through listening to and discriminating between different sounds your child learns to listen and hear the sounds that make up letters and words.
• Sing songs with your child. You will be helping her hear the rhythm and rhyme of both music and language.
• Make silly sounds for her to copy and say. She is learning the initial sounds for sounding out words.
• Say simply rhymes that will help her hear the words that rhyme at the end of each phrase. She may start out making up nonsense rhymes….GOOD! The point isn’t to get the “right” word but the sounds that match…whatever the “word” is.
Seeing:Through observing the similarities and differences in world around her your child builds visual discrimination skills that she will use to “see” the difference between similar letters such as “b” and “p”.
• Go for a looking walk! This can be outside or around your home. The goal is to look for things that are similar. Perhaps it could be similar colors or shapes or sizes. You will be building skills used to see the differences between words on a page.
• Read Signs! Often young children read signs before books. The predictability of signs helps children know what a word means when it is connected to a particular symbol, drawing or photo.
• Go Shopping! Include your child in making a shopping list. Use the advertisements in the newspaper or magazines to cut and paste photos and words of things to buy at the store. Then take it with you for a wonderful visual game matching the items on the list to the objects in the store.
Touching: Learning to read and write involves the sense of touch. You may notice that your young child likes to touch the letters on a sign or even in a book. She is using her sense of touch to gain additional information about the letters and words.
• Finger-paint Letters! Too often children are asked to write letters with crayons or pencils on paper long before they are ready. This is because your child needs to make large movements to begin to understand the “feel” of the letter. Use paint and brushes or fingers to giant letters on paper. It feels good too!
• Build with Letter Blocks! These will help your child learn the feel of the letters embossed on the block. Plus she can match letters or even spell her name.
• Make Sandpaper letters! You can purchase a few sheets of sandpaper and cut them into letter shapes for your child to trace with her finger and feel. You will be building the “hand knowledge” of letters that will help her learn to read and write.
Here are 5 Tips for a Great Summer of Reading and Literacy with Your Child
1. Create a special “Book Back Pack”
Just for carrying favorite books outdoors and on trips. You’ll always be prepared when you’re stuck in line at the grocery store!
2. Focus on listening and outdoors sounds…
You’ll be helping your child use critical phonics skills. Invite her to close her eyes and listen. Ask questions like: What do you hear? Can you make these sounds, too? The RRRRR of an engine is the letter “R” and the EEEEE of a bird sounds like the letter “E!” Go on a listening walk hunting for letter sounds. Say them. Sing them! Write them down.
3. Read a book about trees, the ocean, or a garden.
Then, with your child, plan a walk or a trip based on the book. Before you leave, discuss what you might see. Write down your child’s ideas and check them when you get back. This is called making a prediction and is an important way to build both literacy and thinking skills.
4. Watch the clouds go by!
Find a safe place to put out a blanket lay down with your child to watch the clouds. Invite your child to suggest what the clouds remind her of. You can even use the shapes you see to tell your child a story. You will be building observation skills.
5. Take pictures of a special day spent together and make a book!
Ask your child to put the pictures in order and describe the story of your day. Paste the photos on separate pieces of paper and add your child’s words on each page. Attach the pages or put them in a photo album and you have a home made book to read again and again.
The Importance of Reading Books-All Day LONG
As you well know, reading aloud is an essential part of your day with your child. Whether you are cuddled together just before bed, or reading with the whole family your reading sessions introduce your child to the world of reading and writing. The rich language and writing styles in the books you read become a template for her future reading and writing success.
Try these fun tips to make the most of your reading time with your child.
• Choose books at the right interest and vocabulary level for child. Some best bets are stories involving dinosaurs, fantasies, or vehicles, or books about animals.
• Look for books (both fiction and nonfiction) that will stretch your preschooler’s interest and broaden her vocabulary.
• Your preschooler does best with books that consist mostly of illustrations and have a few sentences per page.
• Usually it is best to read a new book straight through the first time without stopping to ask questions. This will allow your child to “feel” the rhythm of the language and get the “gist” of the book. Save questions and answers for rereads.
• Mix it up. Try reading other forms of writing such as magazines, newspapers, comics, riddles, poems, letters, and even shopping lists! You will be introducing children to many forms of writing and providing a broad view of how reading serves their needs in everyday life.