Tips to Help Kids Develop Strong Reading and Writing Skills

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Helping Your Kids Develop Strong Reading and Writing Skills

Building strong reading and writing skills at a young age can help set your child up for academic success later in life. Children can have a lot of fun developing these key skills with games, interactive activities, books and toys. Try some of the ideas detailed below!

Surround Your Child with the Book

Fill your house with lots of books! In your child’s room, create a designated book area full of everything kind of books -large and small, board books, paper books, text-heavy books, and books full of colorful pictures. You can also create a special reading area nearby, with a comfortable chair or sofa and maybe even a side table for holding books and a lamp. Try to set aside a specific time each day for reading and let your child choose any books he or she likes. Take time to read to your child, even if it’s a repetitive book. You can also create designated book areas in other parts of your home, such as your kitchen, playground, or living room. The more exposed your child is to books and speech, the better!

Set a Good Example

Set a good example for your child by doing your own reading – and make sure your child sees that you have books. Perhaps discuss your book by describing the plot, setting and characters. Tell your child about a new scene and ask them to predict what will happen next or make an inference as to why a character might feel a certain way. You can ask them how they would feel or what they would do if they were a character in the book. Just make sure your child sees the joy and excitement that reading can give you.

Play Games for Fast Reading and Writing!

Most kids love to play, so make learning to read and write a fun experience with these games:

Bean Bag Game – Get four buckets, a bunch of bean bags, and writing paper. Write the letters A, B, C and D on separate plates of paper and glue them to the buckets. Place the buckets a few feet away from your child and give them some bean bags. Then call a letter and have them toss a bean bag into the appropriate bucket. Later you can add several buckets with extra letters or practice phonemic recognition by calling out the words and asking your child to drop a beanbag into the bucket with the letter that starts the words.

Letter Gardening Game – Bring chalk to the sidewalk and watering can in the outdoor area. Write all the letters of the alphabet on the sidewalk or street (or start with just a few letters). Give your child a watering can full of water. Call a letter and have your child find and “wipe” that letter by pouring water on it using their watering can. For more writing practice, you can have them rewrite each letter using chalk after they have erased it.

Sensory Bag – Get a big one Ziploc bag and fill it with dry rice and lots of plastic letters. Call a letter and have your child take their hand in the bag and find the appropriate letter. You can also have them tell you the sound the letter made and even write the letter on a separate page of paper. Later you can play the same game with visual words (such as “the”, “my” and “who”) for more advanced reading and writing practice.

Practicing Tactile Writing

Use a multi-sensory approach to help your child build stronger writing skills. In the kitchen, take a large cookie sheet and sprinkle flour or sugar all over it. Then call a letter and have your child write it on the cookie sheet. For added kinesthetic reinforcement, have them speak aloud the formation of the letter as they write it. For example, when they write the lowercase letter a, they should say “around, up, and down” or when they write the lowercase t, they should say “down and across” as they write it. Try doing the same exercise using beach sand, park dirt, or colored sand on the picnic bench. This is a great way to make writing an interactive and engaging experience.

Children at a young age can have many fun developments in their reading and writing skills. The stronger these skills are before kindergarten begins, the greater the likelihood that they will be confident and successful in school.

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