How to Help

  • What Parents Can Do To Help

    • Surround children with language through books, rhymes, stories, and conversations about books. Talking about books in ways that include conversations about particular words and sounds in books. Children are curious about how language works. Capitalize on what interests them and let stories and words become a part of your daily lives. 
    • Provide your children with opportunities to play with the alphabet and experiment with sounds using magnetic letters, paper, crayons for writing, alphabet books and online reading programs for reading.  Read books together and talk about how letters represent sounds and combine to form words. 
    • As you read with your children, point to the words on the page and stretch out the sounds of the letters in some words. That way children can see and hear how language is put together. When they begin reading independently, focus on ways they can figure out things on their own. It helps to ask questions like, "How could you figure it out?" and "Does that make sense?" Questions like these have been shown to foster an independent sense of problem-solving. 
    • Play phonics games. A wonderful place to start is with the letters and sounds in your children's name. Or, ask them to tell you all the "b" words on the dinner table (for example, bread, beans, bacon).
    • Most important of all, become partners with your children's teachers. 
    • Concerned, knowledgeable adults who work together have the power to greatly influence children's growth as readers and writers, which in turn influences the rest of children's lives.

    Specific Activities to Support the 5 Essential Components of Reading

    Phonemic Awareness Activities:

    • Expose your child to rhyming text.  Have you child generate rhyming word.
    • Read a variety of alphabet books.  Point our words that begin with the same sound. 
    • Model how to segment the sounds in a two or three phoneme word. For example: 
                 "What sound do you hear at the beginning of the word red?
                 "What sound do you hear at the end of the word red?
                 "What sound do you hear in the middle of the word red? 
    • Model how to blend the sounds in a two or three phoneme word. For example:
                 "I will say three sounds. Can you blend the word /b/ /e/ /d/ ?"   

    Phonics Activities:
         For beginning readers....
    • Use magnetic letters or letter cards to say and make words.
    • Model letter by letter decoding to solve unfamiliar words.
    • Model guided writing by having your child help make the grocery list.
                 "What is the first sound in milk?"  "Yes. Write the /m/ sound.
                 "What do hear next in the word milk?  "Yes. Write that next sound."

        For developing readers, use these prompts....
    •  Say, "Let's use our sounds to figure out this word."
    • "Does that word look right and make sense?"  (tease for teach)
    • "What do the letters ea say?"
    • "How do you know it can't be tease"  (for teach)
    • "Do you see a part in that word that will help you?" 

    Fluency Activities:

    • Choose books that are just right... not too hard and not too easy.
    • Re-read a favorite story or passage multiple times to increase accuracy and fluency.
    • Have an older child rehearse a picture book before reading it to a younger sibbling.
    • Play games like "Bingo" and "Concentration" to develop automaticity of sight words.

    Vocabulary Activities:

    • Discuss new words at the point of contact, when heard or seen in text.
    • Recognize and capitalize on what interests your child. 
    • Let stories and words become a part of your daily life.
    • Relate new words to your child's prior learning experiences. For example, when reading the word concentrate, ask your child to tell about a time they had to concentrate on something.

    Comprehension Activities:

    • Engage your child with delightful text.
    • Visit the library to take part in story hour.
    • Use text with illustrations that support meaning.
    • Ask questions like..
                 "What do you think the story is about?"
                 "What do you think will happen next?"
                 "How did that part make you feel?"