We all know that reading to and with our children is good for them! But why is it so important? Well, firstly we know that reading with your child doesn’t require any special skills, just a commitment of time and a patient ear. Reading together helps to grow self-esteem and gives the child that one on one time with a parent, which as they grow older often becomes less and less!
Most children have so many leisure options available to them these days, with TV, computer games, iPad and sports. Reading for 20 minutes a day with a parent can provide them with learning opportunities but also very important down time. Just as the body needs food to grow, so does the brain! The brain grows and develops as we “feed” it with knowledge and experiences. Listening and literacy skills improve as the child becomes more aware of phonics, sounds and repetition of words. Reading is a skill and like all other skills it takes time and patience to master. Therefore it would make sense to say that if we as parents committed to ensuring that our children read for 20 minutes every day that the skill of reading would be acquired more easily!
However as a busy parent I can fully appreciate that sometimes it feels like there just simply aren’t enough hours in the day! So here are some activities that our resident educational consultant “Ms Jane” has come up with that can help support your child’s reading on the days when 20 minutes just isn’t possible!
Most schools send home ‘common sight word’ lists for kids to learn to read and write. You can find some examples online at www.highfrequencywords.org. Finding time to practise these words can be difficult during the arsenic hours. One way to fit it in is to use bath time. Make each word using foam bath letters for your child to read or let them do it themselves. If it’s shower night, get them to write the words on the foggy glass. Any incorrect words can be easily redone taking away the pressure to ‘get it right’.
traveling in the car is the ideal place to play spoken games. Put a spin on the family favourite ‘I Spy…’ by getting your kids to practise separating sounds in words. First try :
Taking letters out of words using the rhyme I hear in my little ear the word ‘seat’ without the ‘s’. Then try adding letters to words – I hear in my little ear the word ‘ten’ with a ‘t’ on the end. When they get really good, make it harder by using two letter blends like ‘th’ and ‘sh’.
Kids love playing outside. Next sunny day, grab some chalk and get them to draw a tree on
the concrete to create a ‘Word Family Tree’. Give them a common sound like ‘ay’ then ask
them to write words with that letter pattern on the branches of the tree e.g. day, stay, play.
Try to extend more advanced kids by getting them to think of words with more than one
syllable e.g. birthday, doorway.
TIP: You can find common letter patterns online at www.enchantedlearning.com/rhymes/wordfamilies