Article from the April 2014 issue of Canton Life:
As teachers, we are often asked by parents: “What can I do at home to help my child? I read to my child every night, but I want to know what else I can do.”
Here are ten things you can try:
1. Play with letters and sounds: This helps children make the letter/sound connection. “Let’s bounce the ball and say /b/ every time it hits the floor.” Or “What does cat start with?”
2. Play word games: “How many syllables are in the word baby? Let’s clap it out.” “Let’s play a word game. I am thinking of glasses: the ones you drink from and the ones you use to see. Can you think of another word that has two different meanings?”
3. Hearing and creating rhymes: Research shows the repetition of rhymes teaches children how language works and builds memory capability. “Can you think of a word that rhymes with car?”
4. Sing the nursery rhymes together: Nursery rhymes are short, easy to repeat, and build language confidence.
5. Talk in whole sentences: At this age, children can understand more than they can produce back to you, so baby talk is not necessary.
6 .Have face-to-face conversations: Limit screen time and increase talk time. Tell your child a short story about what life was like when you were a child while looking through a photo album.
7. Ask open ended questions: Choose topics that interest your child. Respond, listen, and ask additional questions, going back and forth more than once.
8. Expose your child to new words: Read many different genres of books. However, if your child wants to read a favorite book over and over, this is also beneficial since they can predict what will happen.
9 .Count: “How many words are in this sentence?” “How many letters in the word_____?” “How many vowels are in the word_____?”
10. Exposure to the world around you: Taking your child many places (museums, plays, walks in the woods) gives them context to help interpret and comprehend what they are reading.