A fun game to play to build reading skills is Concentration. To make a deck of cards, write two of each grade level appropriate sight words on an index card (search for “Fry sight words” if you need a list.)
Turn the cards face down in an array. Ask the child to turn over one card and read the word on the first card. The child then selects another card, turns it over and reads the word. If the two words match, the child removes the two matching cards from the array. If the cards do not match, the child turns both cards back over and selects a new card from the array. If a few minutes of play, the child will begin to remember where the words are located and matches will increase. This is a fun game to build good sight word skills and also reinforce short term memory.
In a Parent’s Guide to Reading, Karen Tankersley provides a multiplicity of practical, research-based strategies specifically tailored to use in the home. Becoming a strong reader has never been more important for children than it is today. The foundational skills for reading are being laid from the moment a child is born. Parents play a vital role in helping build the literacy skills of their children.
Learn more about how to help your child improve his or her reading with my new book, A Parent’s Guide to Reading: Helping Your Child Become a Successful Reader. In this book you will learn the answers to such questions as: How do children learn to read? How can busy families make reading a priority? How can parents encourage strong reading skills in their children? What books might appeal to children of various ages? What is dyslexia and how do I know if my child has it? and finally, How can I help my struggling reader?
This book offers simple and straightforward ideas that every family can use to make reading a family focus and maximize the development of reading skills in their children. ORDER YOUR COPY TODAY!
Children who struggle in learning to read may have a condition called dyslexia where the brain uses some incorrect portions of the brain to try to read. As a result, reading is difficult for these individuals. Watch this informative video about how children who are struggling readers are having new levels of success with learning to read.
Books make great holiday gifts for children and adolescents. One of the best ways to make sure that your children are becoming strong readers is to find books that appeal to them so that they read as much as possible. The best way to improve at reading is to actually read. That being said, capitalize on your child’s interests and look for books that can appeal to those interests. Some children love fiction while others are more the non-fiction type and prefer to read about topics such as horses or race cars. If you are at a loss as to what type of books might appeal to your young child or teen reader, your local children’s librarian can provide guidance on what kids with similar interests are reading. Giving the gift of a book or two this holiday season is a wonderful way to stimulate learning and build a bookshelf of wonderful books that your child can come back to over and over again.
All children love to be read but in our busy lives sometimes it is just plain hard to find the time to read to our children as much as we might want. A great way to fill in the gaps is by downloading free orally read stories that children can listen to over and over again on the computer, an iPod or even on your mobile phone. Two of my favorite websites for finding high quality stories that children will love to listen to over and over are www.storynory.com and www.thestoryhome.com. Both of these websites feature free downloadable stories that are sure to grab your children’s attention and stimulate their imagination. Another good source of free downloadable iPod and phone story aps can be found on iTunes. Listening to oral stories can not only help your children develop a love of listening to wonderful and informative stories but it can also enhance a child’s vocabulary in the process.
While children might be initially elated with reaching the end of the school year, if your children are like most kids, boredom quickly sets in and they are looking for something to do for part of each day. While summer is a great time to have fun and enjoy the outdoors, studies show that most students will lose some of their reading skills if they don’t keep in practice over those long summer breaks. To prevent loss of skills and fill those long, lazy days, here are some tips to keep those reading skills sharp and even build vocabulary skills in the process.
1) Find fun places such as the park, the patio or even the lake to spread out on a blanket or in a nice lounge chair and read aloud to your child. In addition to having some quality time, you can enjoy the outdoors and share the lives of special characters in your favorite books together. For younger children, this is also a good time to do rhyming books where you can enjoy the fun nature of language and sound.
2) Take your children to the library and help them select new books that appeal to them. If you are not sure what types of books your child might like, ask the children’s librarian. This person is usually very knowledgeable about what children of that age are reading and can point you to many new books that your child is likely to enjoy. Books that are in a series can be great choices since the child can develop a connection with the characters and story line in series books. S/he will look forward to finding and reading the next book in the series.
3) Take time to explore the fun websites and activities that abound on the internet. Spend time learning and reading more about your child’s favorite topics. There are some wonderful children’s websites on most topics of interest to children and your child can read and expand his or her knowledge on his favorite topics (be sure to supervise your child’s internet use).
4) Talk to your child and use “grown up” words. This is a good time to help your child learn new words by explaining new words, talking about tasks you are sharing and engaging in word play. The bigger children’s vocabulary, the more effective their reading skills can become.
5) Summer is a good time to pull out child-centered, age appropriate magazines and share them. Magazines such as Sports Illustrated for Kids, Ranger Rick, Highlights, National Geographic World and etc. can be great motivational reading material. Again, the library is a good source of these types of materials if you don’t have subscriptions to the various magazines. Finally, be a role model of reading yourself. Let your child see you reading and show that you value reading for enjoyment as well as for new knowledge.
While every parent wants their child to learn to read well, many parents do not understand the underlying skills that make children develop into strong and effective readers. The two greatest gifts that parents can give their children are a well developed vocabulary and the joy that comes from playing with letters and sounds. Forcing a child to try to “read” words on a page or memorizing flash cards with words or words and corresponding pictures is not learning to read. Learning to read starts with associating the sounds of the letters with the letters themselves. It begins with listening to good books and enjoying the “story” that is being told. For young children, it is listening to the same books over and over again until they can recite or “read along” with the parent. It is anticipating what will come in the next line or even on the next page. It is listening to the “lilt” of language and playing with rhyme and rhythm. This is the backbone of learning to read and becoming a strong and capable reader. So, stop wasting your money on products that promise “your baby can read” if you just buy my perfect product. It is a waste of time. Start spending time teaching your child to love the sound of words and the fun of stories you share with him. Before you know it, when the time is right for your child, your child will be “reading” right along with you and developing the skills that will enable him or her to be a capable and avid reader.
Many parents are now visiting their child’s teacher for parent-teacher conferences at this mid-point in the school year. This is an important time to learn how your child is progressing in his or her literacy skills and get your questions answered. Some things to ask the teacher include the following:
1. How is my child’s reading level in comparison to where you expect him/her to be at this time of the school year? What type of growth has s/he made this year?
2. What types of books or materials should we be reading together or to our child to support what you are doing in the classroom?
3. Are there specific activities that you would like us to spend more time on at home to help our child’s reading grow more rapidly?
4. What does my child do well while reading and what needs more work? What strategies do you suggest for us to help our child at home?
5. What ideas do you have to help us keep our child motivated about his/her reading practice and schoolwork?
For the past 10 years now, preschool children have enjoyed the PBS series Between the Lions on television. A new study, published by the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communication, has discovered that this program when combined with teachers who have good training and instructional materials, can have a very positive impact on the preschool early literacy development of young children. In the show, Theo, the father lion, models how to read to his daughter and enjoy a book together. Children and parents can also enjoy listening to stories told in video form, play games and get free downloads of songs about letters and sounds to enjoy “on the go” with mobile devices at the Between the Lions website at http://pbskids.org/lions.
I was recently disappointed to learn that as children continue to grow, their pleasure reading often drops off. In a study commissioned by the Scholastic Book Company, researchers found that the number of children who are considered “high frequency readers” or children who read for fun each day drops from 40% to 29% after they reach age 8. Readers are more confident people. The study found that children who were high frequency readers viewed themselves as “smarter, better students, more popular and more creative. In other words, they were much more confident and had positive attitudes about themselves and their abilities. When asked why they didn’t read more, the children reported that they need help getting better books that they like to read. Parents on the other hand, thought that kids didn’t read as much due to too much homework or having better things to do. This is a great finding since parents can do a lot to help their children find more interesting books! Being a role model, talking to children about books and what you are reading can do a lot to pique student interest. Helping children connect with the types of books they really like is a very important way to encourage children to love reading and to engage in reading more often. When children read more, they become strong confident readers. Now who can argue with that as a great family goal?