January 26th, 2018
In the name of Family Literacy Day tomorrow (January 27th), parents from the WRDSB Parent Involvement Committee (PIC) are sharing some of their favourite tips and strategies for supporting your child’s love of literacy.
Read together early, read together often
“When your child is young, bedtime is the most wonderful and memorable time of the day, yet stressful and crazy at the same time. It is easy to forego reading with your child when it is past bedtime and you are moments away from falling asleep yourself. However, I have found that creating a routine of reading together for even 10-15 minutes each night is an effective way to instill the importance of literacy and foster a life-long interest in books”.
Read in the moment
“Although I agree with a specific reading time, kids today have answers at their fingertips. My son and I often Google a topic and read about it, even if it is for just a few minutes when his curiosity peaks. I try to remember that same topic for the next time we go to the library and bring books home about it. Topics that they are interested in help hold their attention – this can be fiction, but often can be a science or history book. I just try to find books or articles for his maturity and reading level.”
Let your child read something of interest
“Do not try to force your child to read fiction if they prefer non-fiction. Encourage them to read strategies about their favourite video game, comic books, or poetry. Shel Silverstein was and still is a favourite for silly poems in our house. Even something like a hidden objects book can entice a reluctant reader.”
Model good reading habits by making reading time a priority as a parent
“Read the book yourself before sharing it with your child, or create time for reading as a family activity. Then, talk about the book and ask questions of your child to ignite an age appropriate conversation. What character did you like best and why? Were you surprised by the ending? If you could have changed the story, what might have happened in the book? Reading is a gift we give ourselves and our child. Make time to read and create a window to talk about the book. Every opportunity you make fosters a love of reading.”
Have a “word of the day/week”
“Make this into a game – look up and use this word in a sentence as often as you can for that period of time. These can be words from the book that you are reading with your child or just a funny word to learn. Whenever we got stuck on a word we would make it an event to look it up in the dictionary – now it’s just a Google away!”
Always let your child read whatever they want
“Regardless of reading ability and comprehension this is a great tip. The Red Tent, To Kill a Mockingbird and Hunger Games as examples, were all voraciously read with zeal. Often the supper conversations were controversial, but always animated.”
“Playing a variety of games encourages literacy in many forms. It helps reluctant readers learn to read by buying into something fun. Games can be word games, number games, board games, card games…. any kind of games. The learning of rules, reading the various boards and playing cards is all a fun way of playing and learning together. Making literacy relevant and true to life is something that families can do while spending time enjoying one another’s company.”
Be a reading role model
“Ensure that your kids see you picking up books, newspapers, articles, magazines, anything….and reading!”
Reading will come to different kids at different ages/stages, and that is ok
“All three of my children were slow to learn to read. ach one has struggled, and struggled in different ways. We decided to adapt literacy into our everyday lives, and let the reading come whenever they were ready. We followed what their class was doing, but we worked on the other facets of literacy, like writing, storytelling, reading comprehension and extrapolation. This meant we read books for them. We watched movies of our books to see how they are the same or different. We acted books out. We took characters from stories and made new stories for them. We talked about what we read and what did it mean, how did it relate to something in our lives. We made up our own books, with writing and pictures. We did journals whenever we went anywhere. We made sure our kids saw us reading, and listened to us talk about what we had read. Some children are ready to read in grade one, as per the provincial standards, but some just are not there yet. That does not mean that they can’t or won’t read, it means they are going to go at their own pace. We consciously took the pressure off of our children learning to read and looked to foster a love of literacy as a whole. And in the end, we have three very imaginative children, who believe that reading is a joy and not a chore, which is all we could ask for.”
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