Raising a reader doesn’t have to be hard. It can be a part of your daily routines with your child. In the first blog post I wrote for Beaumont, I talked about the importance of reading daily to your children.
I also gave five suggestions on cultivating reading readiness in your home. You learned how teaching your child the ABCs is more than just singing the song. Being able to recognize not only the name of the upper and lowercase letters but the sound they make is crucial to literacy development.
Next, here are what skills you can help children cultivate after they have mastered the ABCs. Again, I am not putting ages on these activities since children develop at different stages and I want to honor that.
1. Strengthen Fine Motor Skills
To help with writing, children need to develop their fine motor skills. A few fine motor activities: rolling play dough, picking up cotton balls with clothes pins, stringing Cherrios or lacing cards, painting with Q-tips, sorting pom-pom balls by color or size, building towers with small blocks, stick stickers along lines and simple shapes, picking up marbles with spoons and putting marbles into a 2 liter bottle with tongs.
2. Pre-Writing Activities
Your child knows his lower and uppercase letters, now let’s prepare him for success in writing them. Practice cutting lines, curves, and simple shapes, etc. A great way to do this is draw simple lines on a page or use paint chip samples from the local hardware store. Write letters in sand, with glue then add some glitter and have children trace their finger over the letters, paint letters with a paintbrush and water on the sidewalk, write letters in shaving cream in the bathtub on the tiles. Getting your child to start using utensils such as their finger or an actual writing tool will help prep them to writing letters successfully.
3. Introduce Concept of Print
A simple way to teach children the concepts of print is while reading to them before bedtime. These are simple book skills that you and I might take for granted such as title, author and illustrator names, turning the pages, reading the book from left to right, running your finger along with the text as you read simple words, asking questions and making predictions about the story, drawing inferences from the text, making connections to what you are reading and finally, determining the author’s message or the purpose of the story. In non-fiction we teach children about the table of contents, glossary, index, and so forth.
Above all, enjoy doing these activities with your child. Think of them like games or play and they’ll enjoy the time with you too.
– Maria Dismondy, mother of two, reading specialist, fitness instructor and bestselling children’s author living in Southeast Michigan.