Tips for kindergarten to grade 3
- Cuddle up and read. Quiet times together are opportunities to bond…and read. The cuddling can be as important as the reading. Make it exciting: put some drama into your voice or let your child read every other page. As you go, explain any new words or ideas.
- Public libraries today are worlds to explore so try to go regularly. Your library has great resources – books, computer games, DVDs, CDs, magazines, newspapers and Internet access. There are also terrific in-house programs such as reading circles for little ones and homework clubs for older children. If you have access to a public library, talk to the librarian about what is available.
- Make your kitchen part of your “reading zone”. Have fridge magnets available so children can start making words and short sentences.
- Words are everywhere – take everyday opportunities to read with your child. Your child’s world is filled with words – on cereal boxes, street signs, stores, posters, subway ads, etc. Wherever you go, you can always find new words and point them out.
- Games can be great learning tools. Board games or card games such as word bingo or memory and rhyming cards can be a fun way to learn about words, letter sounds, and reading. They can help children realize how much fun learning can be. Check out your local school fair or second-hand stores for gently used games. You can even create your own by cutting out pictures, writing words on cards and getting you child to match them.
- Computers are reader friendly too! Though many worry that kids may spend too much time on the computer, there are some great games that help kids learn to read and allow them to create their own stories. Look for “parent approved” on the packaging in stores and in the library. Find some kid-friendly websites, like TVOKids and Canadian Geoillustrated for Kids, that have games you can play along with your child.
- Books make great gifts. Ask family and friends to give a book instead of a toy as a gift. Make sure to tell them about your child’s reading level and interests. To build up a home library find almost-new books at garage sales and school fairs.
- Subscribe to a magazine. There’s no substitute for the excitement of receiving mail. Let your kids subscribe to their favourite age-appropriate magazine and watch their eyes light up with the arrival of each new issue. Great magazines for younger children include Chirp® and Chickadee®.
- Be a reading role model. When your kids see you reading, they will want to imitate you. It won’t be long until they learn that reading is fun, interesting, and a “grown up” thing to do.
- Keep books, magazines and newspapers handy. Keep a box in the kitchen or living room for easy access.
A special note: Educators agree that literacy skills develop and improve as a result of a wide range of activities. For example, a child’s literacy skills are enhanced when parents who do not speak an official Canadian language read to their children in their native language. Children will benefit from this reading experience.