Reading is one of the most important skills your child will acquire. Children who read well can find information, follow written instructions, solve word problems in math, and entertain themselves with a story. In addition to reading aloud together, you and your child may want to try some of the following activities that make reading more fun for both of you:
- Talk about both the pictures and the words. Before you start a book, look at the picture on the cover. Talk about the pictures inside: "Why do you think the fish is hiding?" "Where do you think the dump truck will take those rocks?"
- Help your child connect with the reading. Encourage your child to get involved with the stories he or she reads in books. Make comments like, "The boy in that story reminds me of ..." or "I like the red house in that book. Let's take a walk and see if we can see any red houses."
- Make up games based on the pictures in a book. One game that lends itself well to this is the classic "I Spy." You might say, "I spy a red bug," and ask your child to find it on a page. Then let your child "spy" something for you to find.
- Put on a puppet show based on a book. You can use dolls or toy animals as puppets, or make puppets from socks or by taping cutouts or pictures you and your child have made to popsicle sticks or empty toilet paper rolls.
- Have a storybook birthday party based on a book your child enjoys. You can read from the book, have a scavenger hunt with clues based on the story, and draw pictures of characters on paper plates and cups.
- Make up stories. If your child has favorite storybook characters, make up new adventures for them. Encourage your child to make them up too and even act them out.
- Communicate as a family through reading and writing. Try using notes on a bulletin board or chalkboard for everyday messages like, "Annie, remember to bring your sneakers to school!" or "I love you, Nick!" Or leave a loving note in your child's lunchbox or under the pillow.
- Take dictation from your child. Young children enjoy seeing their thoughts and feelings written down. When your child wants to give a message to a friend or sibling, or list foods he or she wants you to get at the store, take time to write it down. Then read it aloud together.
- Exchange emails with family and friends. Children are fascinated by computers. Helping them keep in touch with a grandparent or cousin, reading messages to them and writing the responses they dictate, teaches the connection between the spoken and written word. It also teaches the value of reading and writing as a communication tool.
Don't forget to check out the children's library resource on the MWR Online Library!