How to Encourage Early Reading Skills at Home

by | March 27, 2019 | Homepage News

Early literacy insights and strategies every parent can use

When will my child learn to read? It's the question on the minds of many parents.

Willow teachers Julie Kim (kindergarten), Katie Lombardo (first grade), and Meagan Coy (language arts specialist and school librarian), recently addressed this important question in an Early Literacy Development presentation as a part of Haytown Nursery School's speaker series. The presentation and accompanying guide helped parents understand the three key stages of reading, along with doable strategies and suggestions to foster literacy at home.

Oral Language, for instance, is a skill children develop in the pre-reading and emergent literacy stage, which spans from birth to approximately age six. Oral language encompasses vocabulary, narrative skills (the ability to describe things, tell events in order, and tell stories), and syntactic awareness (an intuitive sense for how words are structured in sentences).

Here are three suggestions from Willow’s early literacy team on how to build oral language abilities at home:

  • Read and re-read picture books aloud. Repeating your child’s favorites will do a lot of good because repetitive reading builds word recognition and helps children understand the pattern and rhythm of text.
  • Have a conversation with your child before, during, and after stories. Ask open-ended questions like, what was your favorite part of the story? Who was your favorite or least favorite character in the story and why? What do you think will happen to the characters after the story ends?
  • Bring literacy into other activities. It’s not hard to do. For example, when your child draws or paints, ask what’s happening or going on in their artwork. Encouraging him or her to tell a story about their drawing is a great way to practice and strengthen narrative skills. You can also write down and share lists, like grocery lists, to introduce new words to your child.

Our Early Literacy Development Guide is filled with more insights and tips to encourage and foster a love of reading. Download the guide here.

Interested in seeing how Willow develops all of the competencies that children need to become capable and enthusiastic lifelong readers? Schedule a tour today! See our Visit Willow page for details.

Willow continues to accept applications on a rolling admissions basis for the 2019-20 school year and mid-year transfers for 2018-19.

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