There’s No Place Like Home
(Image by Sarah Pflug from Burst)
Many parents wonder what they can do at home to motivate their children to read and support their literacy development. There are some surprisingly easy and fun ways to integrate reading and writing skills into your daily lives. It starts by creating a home library and helping children make the connection between everyday life and literacy.
Every home should have a comfortable and quiet place that encourages children to relax and unwind with a good book. This home library should have a variety of books and magazines that are easily accessible. It's always fun to add a colorful rug, soft pillows, and an open-faced bookshelf or baskets to help organize and store the books. Kids often feel more ownership of the area and are more likely to use the space if they are allowed to help design and decorate it. Children should be encouraged to use the library every day by setting aside time for everyone in the house to read every day/night independently, together or a mixture of both. Remember it is ok to read the same books over and over because repetitive reading builds confidence and increases sight word vocabulary. Parents should make sure to take advantage of the local library so that they can introduce their children to new genres and topics.
Children's literacy skills grow when they understand that reading and writing have a purpose so it is important to help children make the connection between everyday life and literacy. One of the best ways to do this is by modeling reading not only for pleasure but also for practical purposes such as reading a newspaper, magazine, email or information from a blog or website. In addition, it can be as simple as talking to children about their day or what interests them as often as possible. Never underestimate the impact of a good conversation. While running errands together, parents can talk about what they are doing, point out signs around them, make lists and help their child find the items. Parents should take advantage of time in the car together by singing songs, playing games (i.e. the alphabet game, I spy, twenty questions, etc.) or listening to a book on tape. When at a restaurant, families can complete the activities on the Kids Menu together. Not only does this help keep everyone entertained while they are waiting for their food, but it’s also is a perfect opportunity to practice reading and writing.
As you can see, these ideas are not expensive or even very time-consuming so they can be incorporated easily into everyday life. In fact, children may not even realize that they are actually learning anything because they will be too focused on the fun quality time they get to spend with their parents and families!