Literacy advice for families
Literacy tips for early readers
- Point out print in the child’s environment: on cereal boxes, food labels, toys, restaurants, and traffic signs.
- Sing songs, say short poems or nursery rhymes, and play rhyming words games with your child.
- Tell stories to your child.
- Read aloud to your child. Point to the words on the page as you read.
- Read a short passage several times to your child until your child can read it with you. Then encourage your child to read the passage to you.
- Encourage your child to read (or pretend read) to you. Make this reading enjoyable. Don’t worry if your child does not read all of the words correctly but, rather, applaud your child’s efforts to read.
- Go to the library together.
- Have books, magazines, and newspapers around the house. Let your child see you reading.
- Encourage your child to write messages such as grocery lists, to-do lists, postcards, or short messages to family members or friends. Don’t worry about conventional spelling at this point but, rather, encourage your child’s first efforts at authorship.
- When watching television, have the captioning feature enabled so that the children view the words while hearing them performed aloud.
Literacy tips for more advanced readers
- Talk to your child about what he or she is reading. Ask open-ended questions such as “What do you think about that story?” “What would you have done if you were that character?”
- Make reading and writing a regular part of your daily home activities. Let your child see you using reading and writing for real purposes.
- Visit the public library. Help your child to get his or her own library card.
- Read to your child regularly, even after your child is able to read some books independently.
- Listen to your child read. Use strategies to help your child with tricky words. For example, when your child comes to an unfamiliar word, you might say, “Skip it and read to the end of the sentence. Now try again – what makes sense and looks like the word that you see?”
- Praise your child’s efforts at reading.
- Play word games such as thinking of different words to describe the same things.
- Support your child’s writing. Have writing materials such as paper, markers, and pencils available. Read what your child writes.
- Set reasonable limits for television viewing.
Adapted from Mraz, Padak, & Baycich (2002).