Communication is a vital social and development kids all have, starting from the moment they are earthside. Parents are immediately endowed with the essential task of developing their speaking, and subsequently, their reading and writing skills. Some folks may think that babies are too young to recognize some of these language learning habits, but every day is an opportunity to hone the skills of a great future student. As for preschoolers and young kids, the transition into the school setting – and the job of teachers – becomes increasingly smoother when children have developed an affinity to language at home. Here are some expert recommendations for ways to get your child ready for school:
1. Read Every Day
Perhaps the single most important thing you can do to foster your preschooler’s reading and writing skills is to read to him every single day. A recent OECD study comparing the role of parents in education in several countries found that the factor that best predicts better reading performance when a child is 15 is whether he was read to during his early years. So read as often as you can to your child, even if just for 20 minutes a day, and do your best to make reading time a fun experience that both of you enjoy.
2. Develop Your Child’s Curiosity for Books
Before you actually start to read a new book to your child, read just the title and look at the picture on the cover or first page. Ask him, “What do you think this book will be about?” “Tell me what you know about…?” These questions will help your child develop curiosity about books.
3. Add Non-Fiction Books to the Mix
Make sure to include non-fiction books in the titles you choose. Kindergarteners are fascinated by the world around them and learn a lot about how it works from non-fiction books. They especially love books about animals (including dinosaurs, of course!), outer space, and trucks and machines. Find whatever sparks an interest and nurture their love for knowledge through History or Science books.
4. Sing Songs to Your Child
Reading to your child isn’t the only way to ensure that he becomes a strong reader as he gets older. Singing songs with him and familiarizing him with a range of lyrics will also help develop language skills.
5. Develop Good Reading Habits
Reading skills will always be essential to your child’s academic success, so do everything you can to make sure that he develops good reading habits. It’s especially important that he sees you and other adults enjoying reading. This will help him view reading in a positive light.
6. Play Word Games
Play simple word games like ‘I Spy With My Little Eye’, seeking out things that begin with a certain letter. In the car, play games with road signs or license plates, such as having your kindergartener spot words or plates that begin with a specific letter.
Another great way to enhance his of her vocabulary is to make a game out of it! Choose five unfamiliar new words for your child to learn each week and see how often everyone in the family can use those words in everyday conversation. This will help improve your kindergartener’s vocabulary, reading comprehension, and speaking skills.
7. Act Out a Storyline
Have your child “act out” the storylines of a book you’re reading. This helps your child learn new vocabulary words and better understand the concepts of plot and character development.
8. Encourage Writing and Drawing, While Exploring Different Uses
As a parent, you can do so much to help your kindergartener feel like a writer. Encourage drawing, scribbling, and writing. Successful and fluent writers are confident in their abilities and writing every day, in whatever form, will help your child gain that confidence. Meanwhile, make sure that your child sees how you use writing in different ways for different tasks, purposes, and audiences. Provide a running commentary as you write, explaining what you’re writing, to whom, and why. Explain why you’re making sure to use more formal language and capital letters in a thank you note to your mother, compared to the conversational tone of a note to your spouse about groceries.