It's amazing how fast the years go by when you're a parent of a young child. It may seem as though it was only yesterday when your son was learning to say his first words. Do you remember how anxious you were, wondering when he would finally walk? Now, he hops, skips, jumps, and is developing an amazing vocabulary. You may be wondering what you can do to help ensure that his next steps continue to be successful ones. Begin the school year with a strong start by setting up consistent learning routines for both of you. Here are five big ideas to help you encourage your child to build language and pre-literacy skills.
- Support your child's preschool teacher. Together, you can help ensure that your child's school career is a successful one. Attend as many school meetings as you can. When you can't, be sure to talk with the teacher to find out what you missed.
- Talk, talk, talk with your child. She learns new words and important ideas about how language works each time you engage in a conversation. Take the time to talk with and listen to your child every day.
- Read aloud as much as possible. Share favorite titles from your own childhood, books that are based on your child's interests, and photographic and informational books. Remember as you read, to take the time to talk with your child about the story. Ask him questions about the characters, the pictures, and what might happen next.
- Model reading and writing. Let your child see you reading the newspaper, magazines, supermarket flyers, and so on. Also, be sure she sees you making lists and writing notes and letters.
- Provide concrete learning experiences. Take him with you to the grocery store, post office, library, and so on. These everyday places are filled with rich opportunities for learning. He'll find new words at the grocery store (avocado, kiwi, zucchini). He'll discover examples of real-world writing at the post office (letters, stamps, addresses). And of course, he'll find books at the library.
The first few weeks of preschool will be busy, so try some of these ideas after basic school routines are established. Remember, the single most important thing you can do as a parent is to support your child.