Is Your Child Literacy Ready for Kindergarten?
Wow, time has flown and your child is getting ready to go to kindergarten. They have grown so much and have learned so many things. But, do they have the necessary skills to make them successful beginning readers? Can you help them be more prepared?
Lucky for you, and your child, there are so many things you can do to help prepare them for kindergarten and for the wonderful world of reading.
Learning the ABCs
Learning all the letters of the alphabet is a great start for beginning readers. Introduce the alphabet to your child in a way that is exciting and interesting. If you make learning a fun undertaking from the very start of their school years, they are much more likely to have a positive view of school.
• Puzzles. A nice, wooden alphabet puzzle is a great way to begin teaching your child the ABCs. Get down on the floor to help them with the puzzle and be sure to name the letters as they fit them into the puzzle. Saying, "Oh, I see you found the 'G'," will help them understand that the letters are different and have different names. Try reversing roles where you do the puzzle and ask them to hand you different letters to help you complete it. Your child will be having fun playing with you while learning valuable skills.
• Chalk. Go outside and draw with chalk. Buy a bucket of colorful chalk to use on your driveway or sidewalk. Write your child's name and then encourage him or her to copy it. Name the letters as they write. "Your name starts with an S. S for Sophie!" Be sure to praise their efforts and point out what they are doing right. Don't be overly corrective at first. The goal here is to expose your child to the letters and make learning a positive experience.
• Singing. Kids love to sing. Sing the ABC song with them every day. Once they know all the words and can sing it on their own, try adding props to help them see the letters that go with what they are singing. You can line up letter blocks and point to the letter as you sing it. Try singing the song in different silly voices to keep your child entertained. Sing quietly like a mouse one time and then loudly like a lion the next.
• I Spy. The next time you are out and about running errands or walking with your child, play the I Spy game with letters. When you are walking into the supermarket, tell your child, "I spy with my little eye, the letter C." See if they can point out the letter you named. Make recognizing letters on signs a fun game that you play together while you are waiting in line.
As well as being able to recognize and name the letters, it is important for your child to understand that each letter has a sound and that letters put together form words. When teaching your child letter sounds, it is also important to continue to make it enjoyable. On days when your child seems receptive, you can teach more.
• Letter of the Day Hunt. An interesting way to teach letter sounds is to have a letter of the day. Tell your child what the letter of the day is and that you will be hunting for things that start with that letter. It's a great idea to start with the first letter of their name. As you go about your day, point out objects that start with the sound of the letter of the day. "Look, here's a baby. Baby starts with the sound 'buh'. B says 'buh'." There's no need to have an intensive session on this, just casually point out other objects beginning with the same sound as you go through the day.
• Use Magnet Letters. Play a game using magnet letters on the door of the fridge. Put a few letters on the door (not the whole alphabet at once) and tell your child a sound and have them find the letter that matches that sound.
Spending time to help your child become ready to learn to read is a great experience for you both. They get the skills they need to be successful in kindergarten while spending time with you. Your positive attitude towards learning will help foster a lifelong love of learning in your child.
Credits: Melissa Kieser