I absolutely LOVE being the children’s librarian at my school…especially when my kindergarteners come to check out books. They are SO EXCITED to look at the books and to take one home. Many of our kindergarteners do not know how to read yet, so they “picture read”. This is a wonderful “prequel” to reading. However, as the year progresses and they master letter identification and the corresponding sounds, they begin to understand that putting these letters and sounds together will form words and they are READING. Watching a child shift from a “picture reader” to one who can both entertain and educate themselves by actually reading the words on the page is a major event in a child’s literacy journey. In this blog, I will share a few activities that you can try at home to help your child master letter identification and sounds and begin READING.
If your child is still learning to identify letters and sounds, try going on an alphabet hunt! The next time you are at a store, choose a letter and challenge your child to find the letter itself or an item that begins with that letter. Take turns picking the letter.
My kids LOVED this activity when they were in preschool. Pour some rice or salt onto a baking sheet and have your child practice tracing the uppercase and lowercase letters. Gently shake the rice on the sheet to “erase” it. Be sure to model tracing the letter first so they can copy the shape correctly. You can also say a word and your child has to trace the letter that the word begins or ends with.
Turn bathtime into gametime! Invest in some bathtub crayons or even some simple shaving cream. After modeling correct formation, you can have your child trace and create uppercase and lowercase letters with the crayons or foam. For a challenge, once your child has mastered letters and sounds, you can have them trace simple three letter CVC (consonant/vowel/consonant) words such as cat, dot, cup, or pig in the shaving cream or crayon. If using the crayons, you can have them write the consonants in one color and the vowels in another. You might need to entice your child with another fun activity just to get them OUT of the bathtub!
In closing, learning to read accurately, fluently and, eventually, with good comprehension is crucial for school success. Kids can learn valuable early literacy skills through simple, fun activities and play. I hope that this blog has provided you with a few ideas that you can try with your child to prepare them for future reading success!