by Mira Choe, Director of Existing Membership.
Whenever I tell parents that I am a former reading coach, I immediately get asked, “What can I do to help my child?” So I thought I would share a few tips.
I’m sure we have all heard or seen the California slogan, “Talk. Read. Sing. It changes everything.” The first five years of life are the most vital years for language exposure, which has been proven to help with brain development and future school success.
- Talk. Talking is teaching. Talk about what you are doing, when you eat talk about the colors and tastes of foods, what you see in your surroundings, how you are feeling, what you think about the pictures from a book, etc. Here is a website you can sign up for email tips: http://talkingisteaching.org
- Sing. Turn every day moments into a song. It keeps your child’s attention, and is proven to help sharpen their memory. Makeup silly songs to help with repetition and see if your kids can help sing along.
- Read. Reading aloud is found to be the single most important activity leading to literacy. Focus on the Big 5 components of reading.
- phonemic awareness- the ability to identify and manipulate sounds. Phonemes are the smallest units of language andthese sounds form syllables and words.
- phonics- the relationship between letters and sounds. There are two types of words, decodable (easy to sound out, such as ‘cat’) and non-decodable (words that cannot be sounded out and must be memorized, such as ‘the’ ‘was’ ‘said’).
- fluency- the ability to read with proper speed, accuracy and expression. Children must be able to read fluently before they can understand what they read.
- vocabulary- understanding words to communicate effectively. Words for listening, reading books, speaking and writing.
- comprehension- understanding what you read. This requires using all 4 tips from above. Comprehension can start at a young age, when you read aloud make sure you stop and ask questions.
The most important thing you can do is read to your child, and have your child read. Make it fun and make it something they want to read! Here is a link the California Common Core standards that start in Kindergarten so you can see what our child will be expected to learn at each age.