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  • What parents can do to help children 'grow up reading'

    1. Create or learn songs to expand your child's vocabulary. Use songs to describe your daily routines, periodically adding new verses that include new vocabulary words.

    2. Read stories such as The Three Bears or Three Billy Goats Gruff. Act out the stories using small, medium and large stuffed animals. Find other items in your home that are large, medium and small. Ask your child to classify the items according to size.

    3. Play "I Spy" with your child using words that describe an object's position. ("I spy something on the carpet, in front of the couch, next to the dog.") Expand this activity by playing "Simon Says" using directional words. ("Simon says put your hand above your head.")

    4. Keep a journal. Spend some time every night discussing your activities from the day. Introduce new vocabulary words by elaborating on the day's activities. Write down your child's impressions of the day.


    Almost all kids learn the patterns of their language at an early age through use, and over time, without formal educational activity. As a result, one basis for learning must be hereditary. Human beings are born to speak; they have an intrinsic gift for figuring out the rules of the language used in their environment.

    Just as with learning to walk, learning to talk needs time for improvement and practice in everyday situations. Constant correction of a child's speech is usually unproductive.

    When children develop abilities is a tough question to answer. Overall…

    • Children say their first words between 12 and 18 months of age.

    • They begin to use complex sentences by the age of 4 to 4 1/2 years.

    • By the time they start kindergarten, children know most of the fundamentals of their language, so that they are able to converse easily with someone who speaks as they do (that is, in their dialect). (Reading Rockets)


  • Read-Aloud Tips


     Children can learn reading comprehension strategies even before they’re able to read texts on their own. By watching and listening to adults’ model reading strategies during read-alouds, even our tiniest ones will begin to pick up on the habits of strong readers. Here are some ways to help your student at home:


    • Make a prediction about what the story is going to be about.

      • Model predicting by:

        • Looking at the cover of the book and talking about the book’s title before reading. Say, “The title of the book is Stranger in the Woods, and on the cover I see two deer looking at a snowman. My guess is that the snowman will be the ‘stranger in the woods.’  Let’s see.”

        • Stopping midway through a book and saying, “Okay, I know that Skippyjon is after the peas. I wonder how he is going to get to them?"

    • Activating background knowledge just means that you’re getting children to think about what they already know about a subject before they read or talk about the topic. You can check background knowledge by:

      • Saying, “The book we’re going to read is called If you were a Penguin, and it looks like it’s about penguins. I know that penguins live in cold areas and that they can’t fly. What can you remember about penguins?”

    • Questioning is a skill vital for developing reading comprehension. When we demonstrate questioning, we show children that it is extremely important to think about what they’re reading while they are reading.

      • “I wonder why . . .”

      • “What will happen to the . . .”


    • Make connections. This will draw the readers closer to text. They feel more in touch with characters, events, and ideas when they are able to find some basic similarities with them. Model connecting by saying:

      • “You have a brother and a sister, just like Arthur.”

      • “You will start school in the fall, and we just read a book last week about Max who was starting at a new school.”


    • Visualizing is simply having readers picture, or visualize, what they are reading.

      •  “Close your eyes, and tell me what you see when I read this short story. What pictures does it put in your mind?”