How You Can Help at Home with Reading and Writing!

1. Encourage reading in any way you can
MILESTONE 1: Your child enjoys looking at books and being read to, but doesn't realize that the print — not the pictures or the reader — tells the story.

How to help:

• Have your child dictate stories or letters to you. Write them down exactly as he/she says them, and read them back to them, pointing to the words as you read.

• Read a lot of short, simple books aloud, including alphabet books.

• Reread your child's favorite books as often as she asks (even if it starts to drive you crazy).

• Leave magnetic letters on the refrigerator for your child to fool around with.

• Talk about the sounds different letters make.

• Give alphabet puzzles, alphabet blocks, and books to your child for birthday gifts and other special occasions.

• Make a recording of yourself reading your child's favorite book, so he/she can listen to it while looking at the book, when you're not around.

MILESTONE 2: Your child pretends to read simple, repetitive books using his memory.

How to help:

• Point to words as you read books, lists, labels, cards, signs, and even cereal boxes to your child.

• Let them finish a familiar sentence in a book, or say a word that's frequently repeated in a story every time you point to it (as in "Go, Dog. Go" or "Green Eggs and Ham").

• Tape word labels (such as "door," "chair," or "bed") on different objects around the house, or in your child's room.

• Teach your child to read their first name by writing it for their, labeling their belongings, and having themoutline the letters (for a sign in her room) with beans, beads, crayons, or other art materials.

MILESTONE 3: Your child realizes that individual printed words represent individual spoken words and begins to recognize and read a few — such as dog, car, and no, plus his own name.

How to help:

• Read together every day.

• Encourage your child to point to words as they "read" a book.

• Help them learn to write and identify upper- and lowercase letters.

• Teach them how to spell and write familiar words and names.

• Play word-related games (as in: "I'm going to eat something on this table that begins with the letter B. Can you guess what it is?" or "Let's say all the words we can think of that start with the letter T").

• Together, come up with a list of short, simple words that rhyme (such as bat, cat, sat, rat, hat). Write them down in a column, so your child can see how part of each word is similar.

MILESTONE 4: Your child can read simple, repetitive books using the text or illustrations to figure out unfamiliar words.

How to help:

• Read a new book aloud several times before encouraging your child to tackle it on his own.

• Listen to your child read and help — if asked — with problem words. Act like it's no big deal if they miss some. Concentrate, instead, on making the experience fun.

• If your child misses a lot of words while reading, and starts acting frustrated, offer to take over the reading, or choose an easier book. Never force your child to read a book that's too hard just because their friends can read it, or his sister could when she was his age.

• Help your child write and read his own stories and books. Accept whatever spellings she uses, even if it's only the initial letters of each word.

• Get your child his/her own library card.


2. Treat your child as though he's an author

MILESTONE 1: Your child can scribble or draw a picture and associate words with the picture (such as, "This is the sun" or "This is me").

How to help:

• Provide lots of materials (paper, markers, crayons, paints, chalk, etc.) and time for drawing.

• Ask your child to tell you about the pictures she/he draws, and label the objects as he/she points them out.

• Ask your child to dictate stories or poems to go with the pictures he/she draws, and write them down for them. Then, read their work aloud, exactly as they dictate it.

MILESTONE 2: Your child begins to produce marks on a page that resemble written words, and can "read" you what they've written.

How to help:

• Encourage your child to "read" you his words, and express your enjoyment ("What a wonderful story!" or "Thank you so much for sharing that with me").

• Keep providing the materials and time for your child to write her own stories and books.

• Write stories and poems alongside your child, and read to them what you've written (even if you think it's awful — your child won't judge it).

MILESTONE 3: Your child understands that sounds are represented by certain letters, and begins to write actual letters to represent real words ("sn" for sun, for instance).

How to help:

• Encourage your child to write notes, keep a journal, or write their own books.

• Offer to rewrite their words or sentences, using the real spellings.

• When reading together, point out how most sentences have the first letter of the first word capitalized, spaces between each separate word, and a period at the end.

• Mention who the author is when you read books together, and talk about what authors (and illustrators) do. Point out that when your child writes stories, he's an author, too.


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Contact Us
L.B.J. Elementary
90 LBJ Road
Jackson, KY 41339