Learning to read and write is such an important step on the academic journey for your youngster! Just like any journey; however, there can be speed bumps and traffic jams, freeways and winding country roads. Each child will learn to read and write at their own pace. I hope this page offers some help as you encourage your budding reader and writer at home.
First and foremost...model reading and writing for your child. Let them see you enjoying a book or magazine (digital or print)! Let them see you writing a shopping list, paying bills, writing emails, etc.
Secondly...offer your child a chance to help you read and write. When making a shopping list, have your child write/draw an item or two on the list. When out driving, have your child read signs of stores and restaurants (environmental print!). This is reading!
Reading with your child:
Reading is more than decoding the words on the page, it is understanding what you read by talking about the text and making connections to it.
Before reading: look through all the pictures, discuss what you think might happen in the story using the pictures. Have your child create their own story just by looking at the pictures. I like to clarify any concepts or vocabulary that might be obscure before reading while looking at the pictures.
During reading: Enjoy the story as much as possible! Get lost in the language and the characters!
After reading: Ask questions, answer questions, relate to your own life and experiences, retell key events.
When your young reader wants to take over..what should you see:
*touching each word they read aloud is a reading strategy, it is matching voice to print
*using the pictures to help figure out an unknown work is a reading strategy
*looking for small words inside big words is a reading strategy
*starting to sound out the word is a reading strategy.
*skipping the unknown word and reading on is also acceptable as long as they come back to it after reading the rest of the sentence.
*Asking themselves :"What makes sense?" is good reading behavior,too!
If the word is impossible to sound out and beyond Kindergarten level: tell them the word right away! Some perfectly good children's books contain very difficult words!
How do I know if a book is an independent reading book or if I need to read it with my child?
If your child has 5 errors on the first page of the book (w/o any introduction or assistance), it is not a just right book for them and they will need help reading it!
What does Kindergarten writing look like?
Writing is also developmental. Some children will write sentences the very first day of school, while others are content to tell very detailed, facinating stories through ten pages of illustrations until October! Both are perfectly acceptable and will be celebrated as wonderous pieces of writing!
Children begin to see themselves as authors by seeing the adults around them model the craft of writing. As their teacher, I will model "kid" writing daily for them and then give them a chance to tell stories of their life. After a month or so, I will add words and gradually add sentences. Some children will jump right in, while others will gradually wade into the waters of writing!
Your growing writer should be able to "read" their stories consistently to you. Before long, you will be able to read it to them!