Part of an ongoing series highlighting the easy, no-cost ways that you can prepare your child for learning to read, today Christina will be discussing the benefits of playing with your child.
Who says learning can’t be fun?
You may have heard that how important it is to prepare your young child for Kindergarten. However, it doesn’t have to be work. The American Library Association stresses the importance of play as one of their five components to their Every Child Ready to Read program. If you missed my previous posts on talking, reading, writing, and singing you can click on the links to read more.
As you can imagine, play is fun! It is also very important because it encourages creativity and imagination. It gives children an opportunity to express themselves and recreate what they see around them. Dramatic play allows a child to make up stories and become a character they have encountered in a book or replay a typical evening at home. This dramatic play will also reinforce how a story is structured with a beginning, middle, and end.
Little ones can surprise you by taking an object and finding a completely different use than what you had anticipated. This occurred when I did a toddler program. I put out paper towel tubes for the children to look through them. Some children did this. However, I saw many other uses for the tubes such as a bat, an oar, and simply rolling it across the floor. One child even tried to stack them tepee style.
If you are uncertain where to begin in encouraging your child in creative play, stop at the library. There are many activity books, puppets, puzzles, and kits that can be checked out to get you started. In helping your child, you may discover your own creativity start to percolate.
Through play children can learn a lot about language. They start putting words to objects and letting their imaginations fly. By stretching this imagination “muscle” children will be better able to make the leaps and connections necessary when it comes time for school.
So let the play begin!
Part of an ongoing series highlighting the easy, no-cost ways that you can prepare your child for learning to read, today Christina will be discussing the benefits of writing with your child. (See Christina’s posts on Talking, Reading, and Singing here.)
Writing skills are developed long before a child actually starts writing out words at school. You can help prepare your child for this valuable skill when they are very little with any activity that works with their hand-eye coordination. This might be moving a bead along a string, or a knob along a track. This will help them develop their hand muscles. When a child can hold a pencil, using magnetic boards like those found at the library, can also help develop hand-eye coordination. Since children learn best by using a multisensory approach try using many different types of activities with them like the ones listed below.
Finger painting with pudding on paper is a fun tasty way to show that the movement of the child’s hand creates a pattern. Finger paint inside a sealed gallon bag lets your child play with the paint from the outside by pressing and pushing on the bag to draw shapes and letters. This is fun and educational.
Shaping letters with dough or “writing” in a tray with sand or salt will help children develop hand-eye coordination while working with letter and shape recognition.
When your child can hold a crayon, encourage them to scribble and make marks. Have them “sign” their name on a picture to introduce the concept that what they write means something. Often a child’s name is the first word they learn to write. Showing your child the letters in their name and giving them many opportunities to practice writing those letters will help them make the connection that letters create words.
As they get older, talk to your child about what they drew and write down a caption or write down a story with them.This again will help them make a connection between the spoken word and the printed language.
Skills take time to learn so don’t feel frustrated if they do not seem to be learning as rapidly as you would like. The important thing is that they be fun activities for you both to do and share together.
For more information on Every Child Ready to Read and fun ideas for building lifelong learners, stop by the Moline Public Library Children’s Desk!
Part of an ongoing series highlighting the easy, no-cost ways that you can prepare your child for learning to read, today Christina will be discussing the benefits of singing with your child. (See Christina’s posts on Talking and Reading here.)
Singing is great. You don’t have to have anything special to sing, it doesn’t cost any money, and you can do it while doing something else. It can calm a child or improve their mood and it is a wonderful way for children to learn language. Just like a nursery rhyme, a song will teach new words, sounds, patterns, rhymes and the rhythm of language. Listening to a song breaks words down into syllables, making it easier for your child to learn them. Adding actions to the tunes can also helpful in developing coordination and strengthen a sense of self and creative expression. Songs can be great tools to help children remember words, stories and concepts. Do you mentally sing a part of the ABC song when you alphabetize something? Songs that you learn as children tend to stick with you.
Don’t worry about how well you sing. Your child does not care. You may be surprised at how well you remember nursery rhymes you were taught as a child. Ask staff in the Children’s Dept. for some CD’s to listen to with your child at home or in the car. Singing in the car makes a car ride go much faster! Attend story times at the library, as many will incorporate songs and action plays along with stories. Check out the internet for action play demonstrations or create your own. Even simple clapping to the rhythm can be will beneficial to help your child hear the different syllables. The most important thing is to have fun – your child will!
Part of an ongoing series highlighting the easy, no-cost ways that you can prepare your child for learning to read, today Christina will be discussing the benefits of talking with your child.
Talking with your child is one of the best ways to help develop your child’s language skills. Children learn a language by hearing it spoken. They learn about the world around them, how to communicate with others, how to express feelings, as well as learn vocabulary and language skills that will help them when learning to read.
You can speak with your child anywhere. Speak with them about morning routines or chores around the house. Listen to what your child says in return. Answer their questions and expand on their statements. “Yes, that is a big dog. It is a St Bernard.” “What color is his coat?”
When you are in the car, point out things of interest, talk about signs you see. Can they guess what the signs mean? Even if your child is not talking yet, go ahead and carry on conversations. It may feel silly at first, but remember that their minds are like sponges and are soaking up every word they hear. You are teaching them needed vocabulary and word structure, as well as stimulating brain development and creating a stronger bond with your child.
Some other great opportunities to chat during the day include at the store, waiting in line, during bath time, before bedtime, out for a walk, during meals, at a playground, the library and reading books.
How do I prepare my child to learn to read?
Everyone realizes that reading is essential to your child’s success in school and that some children seem to have an advantage when it comes to learning. How do you give that advantage to your child?
Learning to read has always seemed to be a bit of a mystery to many. Fortunately, it is never to early or too late to help your child develop needed language and early literacy skills that will help them later in school. As a parent, you are your child’s first and best teacher, and a tremendous role model. You can start your child’s path to learning with the following easy, no-cost activites: talking, reading, singing, writing, and playing. They may sound simple but they will have a tremendous impact on your child’s education.
Over the next few months, we will outline how each of these activities will help your child get prepared for reading. Check in each month for simple explanations and tips!
[Source: United Way of the Quad Cities]
Is your child starting Kindergarten this Fall? If so, are they ready?
According to area Kindergarten teachers, one in six Quad Cities children are not ready to learn on their first day of school. The good news, there is still time to help prepare your child for school!
Stop by the library to pick up the brochure 10 Things Your Child Needs to Know Before Kindergarten or go to the United Way website for a preparedness quiz and suggestions on how to prepare you future kindergartner.
Reading to a toddler can be challenging. How can you possibly get this new mover to sit and listen to a book? Don’t be discouraged if your little one crawls or walks away while you’re reading. You can either just keep reading, so that they can at least hear the story while they do something else, or try again later. And don’t expect to finish every book that you start. The act of reading will become easier the more you do it, and you’ll eventually see payoff to your perseverance.
The key can often be to make the book you’re reading as interactive as possible. Look for books with rhyming, participation elements (pointing out colors, songs, etc), bright colors, and early learning skills (counting, color recognition, etc). Below we have compiled a list of some of our favorite interactive books to share with your little mover. Happy reading!
And don’t forget to bring your little one to Baby Bounce (birth-18 months) or Wee Wigglers (18-36 months)! These interactive early literacy programs are a perfect way to introduce your little one to new books, rhymes, songs, and fun!