How can parents help?
- Be a reader and writer. It is essential that people important to the child demonstrate their need and use of the language skill in their daily living. When important people in the child’s life perform these demonstrations, the child is more likely to form the intent to experiment with the demonstration himself/herself.
- Read to your child frequently.
- Read a variety of stories and poems.
- Always read the name of the author and illustrator when reading a story. In that way, children will develop a sense that books are written and illustrated by people. The parents’ ultimate goal being twofold:
- that children will grow to value the stories written by certain authors.
- that children, from understanding that books are written by people will see that they too can be writers.
- When reading to pre-schoolers or beginning readers, parents should run their fingers under the print so that the child can see that message is given in the print, not the pictures. It also helps those children who are being stimulated by the print in familiar stories to match what they know to the print.
- Take the opportunity to have your child discuss his/her views and feelings about the story with you.
- While reading a story aloud to your child, leave out an important word or works to allow the child to predict what is written.
- Encourage the child to chime in on familiar refrains, such as “he huffed and he puffed but he could not blow the house down”, said by the wolf in the story The Three Little Pigs.
- Read stories and poems of varying lengths so that children can appreciate short stories and novels.
- Remember that at all times, when reading to your child, the most important thing should be that the child sees this reading time as a warm and happy experience.
- Answer your child’s questions about reading and writing.
- Build up your child’s personal collection of books.
- Give the child a book to mark an important occasion and give books as gifts.
- Take your child to book stress and encourage him or her to select a book that they would like to buy.
- Visit the local library on a regular basis both to select books and to become involved in the programs offered by the library.
- As the child becomes a more proficient reader, he or she may want you to read along a story with him or her, that is, reading together at the same time. Or, the child may wish you to take turns reading a story where you alternate reading parts of the story. Eventually, the child may enjoy you reading your book or newspaper while he or she reads their selection.
- Write your child notes or messages. Some parents write a little note and put it in their child’s lunch bag. Teachers or lunch duty supervisors have often observed the excitement and interest in the note, not only by the child, but by his/her friends as well.
- Encourage your child to write by offering him or her paper of various size and colour to write on. A variety of pens, markers and pencils for the child to write with are encouraging and motivating.
- Appreciate and enjoy your child’s efforts in writing both at home and at school. Remembering that time, practice and good models will bring your child’s writing closer and closer to the accepted standard model.
- Be interested in what your child is doing at school. Ask him or her to explain some of the projects that he or she brings home.
Parents and teachers have one main thing in common, and that is the child and his or her learning. When communication between parents and teachers is healthy and open, we expand the opportunities for each child to feel confident in his or her learning at school and in the community.
Happy reading this summer!