You may already be doing several of the activities listed below under some or all of these headings. Look over these lists and think about how adding some of the activities that you’re not currently doing under one or more of them might help your child become better prepared to eventually read and write. Remember that literacy occurs in the routine activities of the daily life of your child, and can involve you, other adult caregivers and your child’s friends.
Children who are allowed to actively participate in these types of activities each day also learn the value of literacy. These kinds of life experiences teach children how to use the knowledge that comes from being literate to better understand how and why the world around them works. In this way, they “learn how to learn,” and they gain skills and the confidence they’ll need to succeed in school and in life later on.
- Describe toys: talk about their colors, textures and special features.
- Read storybooks.
- Ask your child to pick up toys by describing them. For instance, ask “Jose, please pick up the toy that has four blue wheels.”
- Label and describe clothes: talk about color, style and textures.
- Provide a special place for writing and art activities.
- When your child draws a picture, you encourage her to write a sentence or story to tell about the picture.
- Encourage your child to write notes to relatives or friends.
- Collect old magazines for children to cut pictures or familiar words out of.
- Leave notes for your child, even if he can’t read them yet. Ideas: Thank you; Good Morning; I Love You.
- Label and describe the activities of bath time: slippery soap, warm water, bubbles.
- Use new words every night as you talk with your child.
- Sing songs during bathtime.
- Tell stories to your child.
- Watch children’s videos or television together.
- Discuss the characters and their actions.
- Talk about the foods you are preparing and the color, texture, smell and taste.
- Talk about how small you are cutting the pieces and how you are cooking the food.
- Describe how to set the table, and demonstrate how to say “please” and “thank you” while sharing food at the table.
- Leave notes in your child’s lunchbox or school bag.
- Cook and bake with your child.
- Browse cookbooks together and choose a recipe you both like.
- When you need a grocery list, make one together.
- Create recipes of your own and write them down.
Print All Around You:
- Read traffic, street and local business signs.
- Read placemats, menus, pamphlets and posters.
- Read cereal boxes, toy packages, and game instructions.
- Browse through catalogs, magazines, and newspapers.
- Teach the letters of the alphabet through the print in the environment.
- Collect words your child can read in a notebook or on 3-by-5-inch note cards.