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Helping Your Child Learn to Read --> Your Child & You #020
July 01, 2010

Helping Your Child Learn to Read - 12 to 24 Months

You can help your child's brain develop for good reading and writing skills. Here's how.

1. Read to your child at least twice a day.

These will probably be short periods of time. That is OK. Have a low shelf your child can reach where you keep your child's books.

Make it part of your nightly ritual for getting ready for bed. After your child's bath is done, invite your child to pick a book from the shelf.

"What shall we read as a nite-nite story? Wonderful, let's read "The Cat in the Hat"!" Then while your child lies on her bed, read the story, then tuck her in and kiss her good-night.

Ritual and order is very important to a child at this age. It helps the child orient herself and will also help develop another literacy skill - story-telling skills.

2. Talk to your child.

Your child's first words will probably appear during this time period. Your child will be able to understand many more words than she will be able to say.

Studies show your child still needs infant-directed talk to learn new words. A child this young does not learn new words by overhearing adults talk to one another.

So make sure you spend time each day talking with (not at) your child. Respond to your child's interests and chat about their chosen topic.

Daily walks with your child walking, not riding in a stroller, are one way to explore the world by practicing both the motor and language skills which are developing at this time.

Talk with your child about the things he shows interest in -"Oh, isn't that a pretty yellow butterfly! Look, it is landing on the red flower."

Use complete sentences and add descriptive words mentioning the size, colour, or texture of the item.

3. Develop Print Awareness.

When you read to your child use your finger to point to the words as you read.

In this way you will help your child develop what is called Print Awareness.

Print Awareness includes knowing that English flows from the top to the bottom of a page and from left to right on each line.

It also includes understanding that what is printed on the page is being read by someone who knows how to read - that there is meaning to the symbols on the page.

Point out words on cereal boxes, grocery store labels, store signs, and street signs to further your child's understanding of Print Awareness.

These simple tips will help build the foundation for strong literacy skills.

You can have a profound influence on the mastery of English by your child. By following these tips, you will be helping your child develop five of the six early literacy skills which are building blocks to reading and writing.

Those skills include vocabulary, print motivation (the desire to read), print awareness, narrative skills, and phonological awareness (the ability to hear the smaller sounds that make up words).

More reading at...

That's it for this months newsletter.

See you next month :-)

Warm regards,

Mary & Daniel

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