Thursday, November 7, 2013

Reading and Writing: Beyond Drills and Spelling Lists

By Joanne A. Jesena

Is your child tired of drills and spelling lists? Your child's reading and writing skills can improve by doing enjoyable and purposeful activities. 


  •  Star them while they're young and make sure they're having fun!

  •  Start exposing your child early to books. Invest in hard cover and soft books for your toddler. They enjoy interactive books such as peek-a-boos. Have a special reading time with Mommy and/ or Daddy for some reading fun and bonding time, too. Keep in mind that usually, the younger the child, the shorter their attention span. So if your one year old squirms out of your lap just after one or two pages, don’t worry! Their attention span will increase as they get older. 
  • Provide your child with different writing materials. Use the clean side of old letters or office papers.
  • Have a special table for your child where he can put his writing materials and write as well.
  • Celebrate all forms of your child’s writing! Be it scribbles, letters, posters, notes or drawings with stories. Post them proudly on the walls or on the ref.
  • Limit your child’s television exposure. Studies suggest no t.v. viewing for children younger than two! If you decide that Sesame Street and Barney are just too irresistible, limit it to a few minutes a day for very young children. Over exposure may make children lose or lessen interest in books. Parents can also watch with their child and make t.v. viewing more interactive by asking the child questions and encouraging the child to be more proactive than merely sitting and watching.
  • Put signs around your home. Label things at home (such as “chair,” “bed,” “table”) and point them out to your child.
  • Have a message board at home. Post messages for your child to read and encourage him to write to you, too.
  • Write letters to each other and leave them in unexpected places such as inside the lunch box, inside the cabinet or under your child’s pillow.
  • Write letters to relatives in far away places and ask them to write back to your child.
  • Have a reading material in every part of your house and make sure to change them every week or every other week.
  • Have special story telling time at home. Invite your neighbors and your child’s friends to listen to a story told by you, another parent or your child! Be imaginative in your presentation.
  • Make home made books. · If your child is still in the scribbling stage, gather some of his works and bind them or staple them together. Make sure to make a cover with a title and the author’s (your child’s) name. Look through the books together with your child.
    · If your child can already explain his drawings, write his explanation or story below his drawings.
    · If your child can already spell, let him write his own story. Don’t worry if he invents his own spelling (beginning spellers usually only write the consonants). Inventing a spelling of a word is a step towards conventional spelling. Provide him with a dictionary (with pictures, if possible) if you want him to find out the conventional way a word is spelled.
  • When in the car or in a mall, read signs that you see. For younger children, merely pointing out and reading the signs for them is enough. As they grow older, help them notice the beginning letters and the other letters that make up a word.
  • Visit bookstores together and choose interesting books to read.
  • Most importantly, show your child you enjoy and value reading and writing. Remember, you are your child’s favorite role model.

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