Parents begin to panic about academics when the child enters high-school and does not bring in good grades. But, that is not the right age or time to put stress on studies. The learning should actually start even before the child steps into school. Home is the first school your baby attends.
You can create love for books and reading in your baby if you, as your child’s first teacher, give them the precise early literacy skills so that education and academics does not become a burden on them in later years.
Today, research has identified six skills mentioned below to be key to success in reading and writing for your child in later years.
- Print Motivation
- Print Awareness
- Letter Knowledge
- Narrative Skills
- Phonological Awareness
If parents pay attention to the early literacy skills in their child, he/she will be not just ready but motivated and willing to study when school begins.
Teach your child the name of things around your home, in the shop, on the road and also to tell you how they feel – hot, cold, sleepy, hungry etc. Not many parents realize that the child’s vocabulary skills is directly related to their academic success in schools. Start with picture cards, I spy games, and other activities to make your child familiar with more words.
Create a love of books in your child. Lovely picture books with bright colors can be very entertaining and attractive even to babies. Make shared reading of books, or story reading an incentive for your child, so that they look forward to it. Be animated, funny and creative with books so that your child will fall in love with them.
Being familiar with print language and knowing how to create words will help your child understand books. When they hear someone reading from a book, they feel quite comfortable and may even enjoy it.
You can teach your child how to hold a book, open it and turn over pages. Further you can teach him/her how to follow the sentences. Even simple knowledge that the sentences begin from the top and end at the bottom is a huge learning in early years.
Let your child know that letters have different names and they make different sounds. Use your creativity to enhance letter knowledge of your child. For early years, use outdoors, beach or any activity to show how letters are formed. Do not stress on uppercase letter more, since it is easier for the child to understand and follow the paths of lower case letters. The more familiar your child is with letters, the easier it is to adapt to school reading and writing for him/her.
Whenever you take your child to shopping, birthday party, zoo or a picnic, ask him/her to narrate what happened there. Show interest in listening and give all your attention when the child is talking. If one parent was missing from the trip, you can join your child in narrating what happened. This is a very simple activity to lay foundation for your child’s narrative skills.
This skill will go a long way in keeping your child safe as well.
Research has shown that children who lack phonological awareness will have trouble reading as well. You can create awareness about the hearing the beginning sounds in words in your child so that he/she will know the phonetics well. Create and play with silly fun words that rhyme, like fun, hun, dun, bun, pun or cook, book, took, look, mook, nook etc. It is OK if some of the words don’t have a meaning. Ensure that your child is able to understand, hear and manipulate smaller sounds in words in a right manner.