What Parents Can Do To Help
o 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.
o Provide your children with opportunities to play with the alphabet and experiment with sounds using magnetic letters, paper, crayons for writing, alphabet books and CD-ROM reading programs for reading. Read books together and talk about how letters represent sounds and combine to form words.
o 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.
o 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).
o Most important of all, become partners with your children's teachers.
o 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.