Getting ready for kindergarten means much more than learning how to tie a pair of shoes and remembering the names of a few colors. Schools often expect more of their youngest students. That means developing early skills, such as literacy, before the first elementary school day. What can you do to help your almost- or already-kindergartner to learn about and love reading? Take a look at these easy at-home tips:
Create a special space in your home that's just for books. You don't need to take over an entire room or DIY yourself an entirely new nook. The corner of your child's room, part of the playroom or the side of the family room are all easy areas to transform into reading spots. All you need is a comfy chair for each of (you can even use inexpensive bean bag chairs), some soft pillows and a low shelf that is accessible to your child. Stock the shelf with a variety of books, featuring favorite fiction and non-fiction titles.
Make sure that there is plenty of light near your nook. Situate the space near a natural light source or a window, or add a cute table lamp.
Words aren't just in books — they're all around us. Take advantage of this and use everything around you (everything with print, that is) to help your child learn. When you're eating breakfast, point out the letters on the cereal box. Ask your child to name the letters or read the words. Keep the learning going all day long. When you see print, help your child to read it. This includes the print on toys, food and beverage packaging and at stores where you shop.
Put on a Play
The words in books don't have to stay on the page. Okay, literally they do. But you can use storytelling and dramatic play as a way to make these words come to life. After reading a story, work with your child to flesh out who the characters are and what the story really has to say. Use the dress-up bin to find costumes and craft a few props. Use the words from the book as the script for an impromptu family play.
Reading is a key skill that your child needs now, in kindergarten and for the rest of her life. Along with what she's learning at school, help her to develop early literacy abilities at home. Spend time together reading in a special space. Look for words in unexpected places, put on a drama-packed play and, above all, making reading fun.