Reading Aloud

One of the best things families can do together is to read aloud. Too often, this practice stops as children begin to read independently and the parent allows the child to “practice.”  When you want to get “good” at something practice is necessary, but in reading it’s equally important for children to hear good reading modeled.

When a family member reads aloud a book that is too difficult for a child to handle independently, they impart background knowledge and build vocabulary for the child.  This is through overall exposure to the material, not from a question and answer session or deep discussion (i.e., don’t kill the book.)  A vast background knowledge and strong vocabulary are key components to building good readers!

Here’s a link to a great family read aloud article from Reading is Fundamental.  Booklists can be found all over the internet, and as always, I wholeheartedly encourage families to visit the Tyngsborough Public Library.  The library is open during vacation (Monday, 12/27-Thursday, 12/30) and the staff is always quite helpful when looking for new books.

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Pre-reading skills

A good early childhood program helps children identify not only letters (i.e., the alphabet) but also begins to work on identifying the sound each letter makes.  Sounds at the beginning and end of words are the easiest to identify, and children usually get those first.   In preschool they begin looking at letters and sounds through games, dramatic play, and by looking at letters that are already familiar to the students (like in his or her name.)

This weekend I came across a website that was put together in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Education that teaches letters and sounds through two cute characters – Duck and Elephant – and some fun computer based activities.   Take a look here.