A key part of education is learning how to read and write. This is a long process of learning words, recognizing letters, and understanding concepts – and we all get excited when our children hit a language milestone. We post about the first word our baby reads, or how they started to write their names. We can also support and enhance their learning journey at home. Here are some easy ways to help improve reading and writing skills.
Readiness is Everything
Reading and writing don’t just involve thinking or mental skills. Children will use their eyes, ears, and hands. Our goal as parents is to help support their physical development.
Writing uses muscle coordination from shoulder to wrist, hand-eye coordination, and fine motor skills. Let them play with clay, sand, mud, leaves, their food and anything organic. Encourage them to use their hands to explore their world.
Reading requires visual and auditory perception and discrimination. This means prior to reading and sounding off letters and texts, your child has to learn how to recognize and differentiate what he hears and sees. When you take your baby for a walk, draw his attention to different sounds. “Listen to that bird sing! Can you hear the motorcycle?”
Expose toddlers and pre-schoolers to nursery songs and books with rhymes. Help their visual skills by playing “I Spy” or giving them simple puzzles.
Develop a Love for Reading
Interest and love for reading starts not when a child learns to read, but when a book is first opened and read to him. When we show to our children the joy of reading, they get interested and copy us. Here are some things you can do to develop your child’s love for reading.
- Read to your child every day. Create a habit of reading in your family.
- Act out a good poem. Kids love seeing poetry in action. You can also use props such as their toys or cut-outs.
- Ask questions while you read a story. This encourages the child to analyze the story and understand cause and effect.
- Repetition is normal, and actually good for reading skills. If a child asks for the same book every single day, don’t be alarmed. This actually improves their word recognition, fluency, comprehension, and confidence.
- Label the things your child draws. Ask him to describe his picture and write his words at the bottom of the image.
- Bring your kids with you when you do your groceries. Allow them to pick items from the shelf. If they can already recognize letters or simple words, encourage them to read the labels before adding items to your cart.
- On road trips, read maps together.
- Choose books that are appropriate for their reading levels. Bring them to book sales or the library and let them choose the books they like.
Develop a Passion for Writing
Writing skills helps your child communicate clearly, boosts their confidence, and stimulates their mind and creativity. Here are some things you can do at home to improve your child’s writing skills.
- Encourage doodling at home whether on a piece of paper, a foggy mirror, or a phone app.
- Fill a shallow container with sand and salt and ask your pre-schooler to trace letters in it. You can also print traceable worksheets.
- Encourage writing letters to family and loved ones. Younger children can start with creating cards for special occasions.
- Inspire kids to write the shopping list.
- Create a scrapbook with your kids. Ask them to label the photos in the scrapbook.
- Inspire your child to keep a daily journal.
As your child learns to write, pay more attention to content rather than spelling. Ask questions about what they have written and engage in their explanation.
Prepare the Environment
One of the principles of Montessori is to prepare an environment that maximizes independent learning and exploration. Keep all materials within your child’s reach, so he can get them on his own. Be inspired by the layout in many preschools and playschools: they put books in low-lying shelves, and art materials are organized into baskets.
Set the example
Reading and writing are important skills that your child will use throughout his life. However, their passion for it must begin at home. We need to create a culture where reading and writing are treasured moments and not a chore. That includes putting away our gadgets, reading more books, and practicing what we preach.
How do you encourage your child’s reading and writing skills? What are your child’s favorite books? Share your tips and experiences in the comments section!
About The Writer
Kat is a full-time mom to her three kids that she homeschools with her husband. Prior to becoming a stay-at-home mom, Kat was an Instructional Designer and Training Facilitator at a business process outsourcing firm. She currently enjoys sharing her mom life and homeschool journey through her blog petitemomma.com and their YouTube channel, Homeschooling V and Z. In 2019, with mommy blogger friends Kat co-wrote an e-book entitled, "Nanay Nanay Paano Maging Ina?" and co-founded a support group for Filipino homemakers. In her spare time, she helps maintain the social media accounts of a social enterprise that helps children with cancer.
The views and opinions expressed by the writer are his/her own, and does not state or reflect those of Wyeth Nutrition and its principals.