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
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.
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.