Read books with rhyme. Ask your child to tell you the words on the page that rhyme with each other, focusing on the sounds they hear, not the words they see. Talk about what makes words rhyme. Say a word and have your child count/clap/tap the number of syllables in the word: cat (1), picnic (2), triangle (3). Have your child move counters such as beans or pennies, for every sound in the word, saying the sound aloud while moving the counter. (3 counters = b-a-t, m-o-p, s-i-t, d-e-n, c-u-p)
Reinforce your child’s understanding of how books are organized by pointing out the parts of a book and the basic features of print. You might name the front of the book, the back of the book, and where you begin reading the story. *See Print Awareness articles for more details.
Make learning the alphabet fun with hands-on activities like Play-Doh, puzzles, magnets, and toys. Begin with identifying the letters in your child’s name. Once your child is able to identify and name the letters, provide him or her with activities to build speed and accuracy in letter recognition.
Play word games: Alphabet Memory Print picture cards and letter cards for each letter of the alphabet, to make a deck of cards. Put every card face down on the table or the floor in rows. Let your child choose two cards to see if the letter card and picture card match. (e.g., h= hat; f= fish)
Using a familiar book, go on a sight word hunt and highlight the sight words you find.
Read rhyming books and have your child point to the rhyming words. Talk about the differences in spelling.
Help your child learn the meanings of new words by frequently reading different types of books to him or her.
Have conversations about daily events, pictures in a book, places you visit, things in nature, and experiences you have with your child. Help your child use new words to describe those things. Ex: The doors of your school are maroon in color. That is a darker shade of red. Can you think of something else that is maroon?
Sort household objects into categories with your child. Ex: shapes, food, clothing, etc. Have your child say the name of each item, its category, and use the items in sentences. Ex: An apple is a fruit we eat for a snack.
Play an opposite word game. Example: When I say stop, you say ____(go). When I say up, you say ____(down).
As you engage in everyday activities with your child, use a variety of verbs to change your action. Ex: Let’s walk to the park. Let’s saunter to the park. Let’s march to the park. Let’s skip to the park.
Before Reading: Look at the cover and talk about what the book might be about.
During Reading: Ask your child who, what, when, where, why, and how questions. Encourage your child to use information from the book to support his or her thinking. Check out the Talking While You Read video for more tips!
After Reading: Talk about what happened. Encourage your child to retell the story using prompts such as a retelling glove.* You can even use sidewalk chalk to create a long, curvy line. Walk along the line as you retell the story together.
Before Reading: Talk about what you and your child already know about the topic. Ask your child what he or she wants to learn more about.
During Reading: Ask your child who, what, when, where, why, and how questions. Where (do clownfish live)? How (are alligators and crocodiles alike/different)? Why (is a whale classified as a mammal)? Pay attention to what the photographs and/or illustrations are teaching, too.
After Reading: Talk with your child about what you have learned. Ask your child: What was this book mostly about?