Most adults take literacy for granted. Think about the tasks you have already completed today – how many of those tasks relied on your ability to read or write? If you couldn’t read and write how different would your life be? Most school subjects involve reading and writing, so children with poor literacy quickly fall behind. Literacy has the power to lift people out of poverty by opening the doors to educational and employment opportunities in our ever-changing technological world.
Even if your child is an unenthusiastic reader and writer, there’s plenty you can do to ignite their enthusiasm because words are everywhere! Help your child to see that reading and writing has a purpose. It’s woven into our everyday lives. Involve them in your daily literacy activities and they will quickly develop the strong skills they need to thrive.
- Model reading and writing. Let your child see that you read and write for practical purposes and for pleasure too.
- Write shopping lists together. When you’re out shopping ask your child to follow and read the list. Help them to match the words on the list with the packets and boxes.
- When you’re queuing in a supermarket ask your child to read the names on chocolate bars and sweets. You might not leave empty handed, however!
- Label objects around the house: ‘door’, ‘window’ etc. so that your child absorbs different words. You could also label toy boxes and containers. Your child might help you to write some of the labels and stick them up.
- When you’re out and about encourage your child to read the writing on road signs, shop fronts, posters etc. Do the same indoors. Read cereal packets, board game boxes – any written material that’s around.
- When your child is playing a computer game ask them to read words and instructions on the screen.
- Find songs on YouTubeKids that have the lyrics displayed – you will find this really helps with your child’s sight reading. Never let children search YouTubeKids without supervision as unsuitable advertisements and material can slip through the net.
- Cook together so that your child has the chance to read recipes with you. If they love cooking encourage them to invent their own recipe. They will have fun being messy in the kitchen. Tell them that it’s a good idea for them to write down their recipe for future use.
- If your child likes crafts they can follow instructions in craft books. They could also create their own craft instructions for another person to follow.
- Put letter magnets on the fridge. Write messages for your child to read, and ask them to write messages to you.
- Leave secret notes for your child in different places. You could write a special note and put it in their lunchbox so they have a lovely surprise at school. At home, you could even experiment with invisible writing. Your child might write notes back to you.
- When you go to restaurants ask your child to read the menu and place their order with the waiter themselves.
- Feed your child’s enthusiasm for reading by visiting the library regularly and sharing books together.
- Let your child choose and buy books. Charity shops are brilliant because they always have so much affordable choice.
- Play games. If your child has been given tricky words to learn for homework, copy them onto strips of card and turn them over. If your child can read the word they’ve picked then they keep it. If they can’t read the word then you keep it. The person who has the most words at the end of the game wins. For a range of free word and phonics games visit Pinterest, Topmarks, and Phonics Play.
- When reading to your child, occasionally follow words and sentences with your finger, pointing out sounds or words they’ve just learnt or asking them to read those sounds/words. Don’t do it too often though or your child may stop enjoying listening to stories!
One final tip:
When it’s time for your child to read their school book to you, break reading into small chunks. Ask them to read just one page in a sitting. You can build this up over time. Think about why your child is resistant – is the book at the right level for them? If you’re not sure, speak to your child’s teacher.
If you continue to feel worried that your child is falling behind, get in touch with TutorMyKids. Our dedicated, specialist literacy tutors are here to help you.