Make a List!
Have your child help make a list…and help their early reading skills!
Sit with your child and tell them that you need to make a list. It does not matter what type of list it is. It can be a list of things that you need to do around the house, a list for the grocery store, or a list of chores.
Say each item on the list out loud. Write each item slowly and clearly. Sound the letters as you write them. Number the items on the list.
Check the list during the day or at the end of the day. Ask your child if they remember what is on the list. Together, cross off items that you have finished. Say the words slowly and clearly.
If your child wants to do more, have them find the items and cross them off the list. You may need to give them hints like,
- Butter starts with a “Buh” sound. Look for a word that starts with a “B”.
Your child is learning that words are tools that can help us every day. They are also learning how letters and words are written.
Tell your child you see something in the room or the yard and you want them to guess what it is. Say,
- I will use five words to describe it. Describe means, I am going to tell you five things about it.
Then say the five words, for example,
- Furry. Brown. Soft. Cuddly. Toy.
If they do not guess teddy bear, use a few more words.
Now it is your child’s turn to use five words to tell you about something. Remind them not to say the name of the item.
For example, if they are looking at a red ball they might say,
- Red. Round. Bouncy. Squishy. Toy.
Or if they are thinking of a tree, they might say,
- Brown. Green. Bark. Leaves. Tall.
This is also a good activity for children to play together. Be sure they take turns.
If your child wants to do more, they can draw a picture of each item after you have guessed it. Write the words that you used to describe the item (like red, round, and bouncy) on the picture. Ask your child if they can write the words, too.
Make a Story with Me!
Make up stories with your child. Let them fill in words as you go along. For example, start by saying,
- Once upon a time, there was a family who lived in a ___________. Let your child fill in a word.
Keep going with the story.
- Here is who was in the family: a mother, and who else? _________.
- This family decided to go on a trip to _____________.
Let your child create a real-life story, or a silly make-believe story.
Then try this: Let your child make up the whole story. Write down their words and read the story back to them. They can draw pictures to go with the story to make their own story book.
If there are more children, ask each child to add to the story. Be sure they take turns.
Look around you and choose an item that you see. Say,
- I spy, with my little eye, something beginning with the letter “M” (or any other letter).
Make the sound of the letter,
- The letter M makes the sound “mmm,” “mmm.”
- Do you see something that starts with an “mmm” sound?
Let your child have a turn to “spy” with their little eye and you guess!
This is a great game to play in the car, on a walk, or even when you are stuck in line somewhere! Your child learns that every letter makes a sound. They learn to listen for sounds that begin a word. This helps them as they learn to read.
Read to Me!
Find a time every day when you can read to your child, like before bed or after dinner. Have your child sit close so that you can both see the pictures and words. At this age, your child may like books that have a few sentences on each page.
There are many ways to help your child connect with books and reading. Try these ideas:
- Place your finger under each word while you read.
- Change your voice to sound like the characters in the story.
- Ask questions that cannot be answered with a simple “yes” or “no”, for example,
- Look at this picture! What do you think is happening on this page?
- Who is your favorite character in the story?
- How did that make you feel?
- What do you think is going to happen next?
Your child may want you to read the same book many times.
Visit the library to choose books about things your child likes. Your child is learning to enjoy reading. This will prepare them for daily schoolwork and will help them to be a better reader.