Tips for Reading to Your First Grader and Older
Children can enter first grade at various reading levels. Some children may have not learned to read in kindergarten and some can already read independently. By the end of first grade children will be reading various materials, from simple ABC books, to rhymes, grade-level books and even more advanced fairytales and non-fiction books.
- As your child learns to read, rely more and more on her to read you words, sentences and even entire stories.
- Find opportunities to let your child read outside of the home. Your child can read shopping lists, road signs, directions, billboards- you name it, she can read it!
- Encourage language and vocabulary development in your child, "Laura, you are an ENCHANTING child, do you know what ENCHANTING means?"
- Let your child read his school journal, homework, etc. to you. Be genuinely interested in what he is reading: "That is fascinating!" "I didn't know that."
- Point out words everywhere. Reading doesn't always have to be from books. There is an opportunity to encourage reading by pointing out the printed words that surround us. Road signs, advertising, billboards, menus, posters, they all present excellent opportunities to explore reading.
- Discuss words. Your child's vocabulary will increase exponentially if constantly introduced to new words, 'This dinosaur was a CARNIVORE, this means he only ate meat!'
- Play word-related games. Spelling games, board games, even educational video games can encourage your child to associate 'reading' with 'fun'.
- Encourage your child to say spelling words and listen to the sounds in the words. Ask, "What letters make the sounds you are hearing?"
- Help your child develop good spelling habits by pointing out rules that are easy to remember. Use mnemonic devices like "i" before "e" except after "c" for even quicker learning.
- Point out words that rhyme and are spelled similarly. Catch and match both rhyme and have the same word ending.
- Help your child learn to identify key components of a sentence. Nouns and verbs are good places to start.
- Start a 'Storybook' or 'Journal'. This is a good time to let your child start writing her own sentences about things that interest her, what she learned in school, who her friends are, etc. Your child will be well on her way to becoming a world-class reader!