It’s no coincidence that the very first element of the “Three R’s” is reading. Along with writing, reading is a skill that all people need in order to be productive and successful in the global economy. And while we love teaching reading and writing at St. Philip Lutheran School, there is so much that can be done at home to encourage your child’s literacy development.
- Read, read, and read some more! Even when your child can talk, they will benefit from hearing you read. Hearing sounds, rhythms, rhymes, and words ultimately help them learn to speak. An added bonus is that listening to a parent read provides opportunities for intimacy and bonding.
- Be a reading role model. Make sure your child sees you reading regularly. If you’re not a book person, then read the newspaper or magazines in front of them. Like anything else, it’s important to practice what you preach; if you don’t show your family that you find value in reading and writing, then conveying the importance of literacy becomes difficult.
- Visit reading spaces. All branches of the public library system have storytime for younger children. While you’re there, let your kiddo spend time with the books – even if it’s just to look at pictures. Make book check-out an occasion that they look forward to. Another option is to visit bookstores like Barnes and Nobles, as they also offer storytime for their young patrons.
- Maximize organic opportunities. Looking for a street sign or landmark? Have your child help you find the letters. Need to make a list of things to pick up at the store? Let your child write it for you (or practice copying the same letters you used). Have fun with words by challenging your favorite little person to a rhyme-off. These activities do not need to be planned, simply enjoyed when the opportunities arise.
Even if you have a reluctant reader, the aforementioned hints can help him or her become less reluctant. The most important thing is to be consistent. Literacy development is a marathon; periodic sprints help, but there is nothing like years of training to prepare your child for life.