Of course, you want your child to be literate. But what does that mean, exactly? And how can you help them get there? There are a lot of different ways to approach early literacy, but there are some key things that all children need in order to become strong readers and writers. From developing phonemic awareness to encouraging a love of reading, these tips will help you give your child a solid literacy foundation.
Find out what experts have to say about our reading program: Dash Into Learning Expert Approved.
Statistically Our Country's Children Are Reading Below Grade Level.
There are clear indicators that can contribute to a child reading below grade level. One is whether or not the child has access to books and other reading materials at an early age. Studies have shown that children from families with lower incomes are more likely to read below grade level than their peers from higher-income families.
Other factors that can affect a child's reading ability include how much exposure they have to age-appropriate reading material, whether or not they have someone at home who can help them practice reading, and whether they have any learning disabilities that make it difficult for them to process written information.
Some sobering stats:
- About 1 in 3 children start kindergarten without basic reading and learning skills (University of Texas, 2005).
- 47% of fourth graders from low-income families read below the basic level (Rif.org).
- Only 35% of public school students read at or above the proficient level. In Texas, the average drops to only 25% (U.S. Department of Education, 2017).
Fortunately, there are a number of things that parents and caregivers can do to help children improve their literacy skills.
We love adding fun reading activities to our reading activity packs, such as:
- learning games
- coloring pages
- matching games
- bingo games
- secret codes
- handwriting practice
- and so many more fun activities for your child!
All of these supplemental activities reinforce what your child has been learning in a fun way.
How You Can Help Improve Your Child's Reading
There are a few key things you can do as a parent or guardian to help improve your child’s reading skills. First, it’s important to create a literacy-rich environment at home. This means having plenty of books, magazines, and other reading materials available for your child to explore. In fact, it's been recorded that "The number of books in a child's home correlates with their ability to read later in life (The Literacy Crisis: False Claims, Real Solutions, 1998)" and "Students with more types of reading material test higher-than-average on reading and language arts testing (U.S. Department of Education, 2001).
Set up a reading nook in your home. Whether it's a cushion with a box of books next to it or a full library, your kids will appreciate having their own reading space. "Children who are provided with an informal environment to choose what they read show better reading and literacy skills (The Power of Reading: Insights from Research, 2004)" It’s also important to model good reading habits yourself—let your child see you reading regularly for pleasure.
Read to your children often! "Kids who are read to by Mom and Dad are twice as likely to score in the top 25% percentile in reading (U.S. Department of Education, 2002)."
Encourage your child to read aloud to you on a daily basis. This will help them practice their fluency and expression, and you can offer feedback on their progress. "Kids who regularly ready have better language skills, larger vocabularies and high cognitive skills than non-readers (Child Development, 2006)"
Help them choose books that are age appropriate for their level and interests, so that they stay motivated. Finally, make regular trips to the library together so that your child can explore even more books and find new favorites.
Let your child have fun tracking their reading with our reading log!
How Reading and Numeracy are Linked
It's no secret that reading and numeracy skills are linked. Research has shown that children who struggle with one are likely to struggle with the other. This is why it's so important to make sure your child is developing strong literacy skills. In fact, "Children who are read to frequently are: more likely to count to 20, write their own name, and read (NCES)."
This may be because both reading and numeracy require the child to extract information. "Symbol imagery and conceptual imagery are two major building blocks of literacy. They are also crucial to math, "points out Justine Gussen, a K–5 Reading Specialist.
Long Term Reading Success Starts at Home
The most important thing you can do to help your child become a successful reader is to encourage a love of reading at home. Here are some great ways to do that:
1. Make reading time special. Choose a quiet time when everyone is relaxed and there are no distractions. Let your child choose the book they want to read, snuggle up together, and enjoy the experience.
2. Talk about the books you're reading. Share what you're enjoying about them and ask your child what they think of the story.
3. Read aloud together. Not only is this a great way to bond, but it also models fluent reading for your child. You can take turns reading paragraphs or pages, or take on different character voices—have fun with it!
4. Take regular trips to the library. Let your child pick out their own books and explore different genres. This will help them find what they like to read and build their confidence as readers.
5. Encourage writing at home too! Whether it's keeping a journal, writing stories, or just jotting down lists, writing is an important part of literacy development. It's also another great way to bond with your child and share in their creativity.
If you have any concerns about your child's early reading development, be sure to reach out; we would love to discuss it with you!