How To: Raise a Reader and a Writer

Getting Kids Excited about Reading and Writing

This brochure from the National Association for the Education of Young Children comes home with every about-to-be-a-Kindergartner at our school.  This is their guide to parents for raising a reader and writer.  I just condensed it and added a few ideas of my own.

1.  Talk, Sing, and Play with Your Child.

  • Expand on what your child says.
  • Talk as you do simple everyday things together.
  • Recite nursery rhymes and do finger games like the “This Little Pig Went to the Market.”
  • Describe the child’s activities.

2.  Make Time to Read Together Each Day

  • Don’t forget reading time with dad or granddad– it’s not just a “girl” thing.
  • Bring a few books when you head out for errands.  Waiting at pick-ups for older siblings is a great time to read a book together!

3.  Choose Books With Care

  • Involve your child in the book selection.
  • Look for books that relate to what’s happening in your child’s life at home.  Going on vacation?  Starting school?

4.  Surround Your Child with Reading Material

  • Consider subscribing to a children’s magazine.  Children love getting mail!  National Geographic has some great ones!
  • Help your preschooler create a book of their own with drawings, photos or other things that have meaning for him or her.  My son likes to staple together coloring sheets and then dictate a story to me or create a story using a sheet of stickers.
  • A librarian suggested keeping (and rotating) a basket of books in the bathroom just to look at.

5.  Slow Down and Have Fun

  • Read at a leisurely pace
  • Occasionally pose a question or make a remark that will prompt the child to think a little, express himself, or relate the story to his own experience (even if your child’s response to you is, “Mommy, just read the story!”)

6.  Read It Again … And Again!

  • Repetition is great for kids!
  • If the books are really of good quality, you won’t mind as much!

7.  Foster Your Child’s Awareness of Print and How We Use It

  • Point out everyday print like street and store signs
  • Provide magnetic or plastic letters to play with.
  • Write notes for kids to read…lunch boxes are great places for this!

8.  Provide a Variety of Writing Tools and Materials

  • Stock a writing area with scrap paper, used greeting cards, bank forms, mail-order tear off cards, envelopes and notebooks.
  • Provide different kinds of markers, pens, crayons, pencils and other writing tools such as alphabet stampers and letter stencils.
  • Allow children to use the computer to write.

9.  Don’t Push or Pressure Children About What or When to Read

  • Don’t nag your child to read.
  • Comic books count!

10.  Show Children that You Value Their Efforts

  • Display their work prominently.
  • Ask your child to read to you, even if it’s just one word a page.  Rhyming books are great for a child to read the last word of each page.
  • If a child makes a mistake when reading aloud, don’t interrupt.  If the mistake doesn’t change the meaning, let it go.
  • Respond positively to the message in your children’s writing rather than focus on the handwriting or spelling.
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By Mia Wenjen, PragmaticMom

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