Words & Stories (3 - 5 yrs.)
You are essential to your child’s learning. From the moment your child is born you help her to develop the skills that will someday make her a reader, writer, and communicator.
It may sound like a big job but you are already doing so much to help build these skills.
- When you make up and sing silly rhymes, you help your child to hear the sounds of language and words.
- When you talk in your home language about the things you are doing and engage in conversation at the dinner table, you build your child’s language skills and help her to learn new words.
- When you share books at bedtime, read your own book or magazine on the couch, or read the label on a cereal box together, you show your child the joy and importance of reading.
Everyday routines offer the perfect opportunity to help your child learn new words, learn the sounds and shapes of letters, comprehend stories, and develop a love of reading that will last a lifetime.
In this video you’ll meet children from three families:
- Aaliyah (age 3) as she builds language skills on a walk with her mom.
- Twins Teddy and Jonny (age 5) as they hear stories and build communication skills using pictures and technology.
- Kendra (age 3) as she explores letters with her sisters Keyara (age 11) and Kayla (age 8) and reads a book with her parents.
Watch as these children learn words, read, write, communicate, and explore together throughout the day.
Conversations. In these videos, you saw children build language and communication skills as they went about daily routines. Aaliyah practiced expressing herself as she talked with her mom about the things they saw on a walk. Teddy’s parents helped him to build communication skills by asking him lots of questions and by introducing him to new words in hands-on ways. These language-rich experiences help children build important skills that will support later reading and writing. As a matter of fact, the more words your child hears and uses early in life, the better he’ll do in school.
- The next time your child is playing, ask her to tell you all about what she is doing.
- Encourage her to give details by asking questions such as “How does that work?” and “What does that feel/sound/smell like?”
Books and Stories. In the video, Kendra’s parents made reading engaging and fun by snuggling close as they read, asking Kendra questions about the story, and making sounds to go along with the actions. This kind of interactive reading experience not only helps to make books special and exciting, but also builds a child’s language skills, comprehension skills, and letter awareness.
- The next time you and your child are going to read together, show her the cover of the book first and ask, “What do you think this book is going to be about?”
- As you jump in and read, use lots of expression and encourage her to say any repeating lines along with you. Pause occasionally to ask questions such as “What do you think is going to happen next?” and “Why do you think the character did/said that?”
Letters. In the videos, children explored letters as they shared books and had conversations. These experiences help children to build phonemic awareness—the ability to understand that spoken words are made up of separate sounds. Children begin to make the connection that letters come together to make words and that each letter has its own distinct sound or sounds.
- Look for the first letter in your child’s name as you go about your day. Point it out on signs, labels, and in books.
- Each time you find the letter, make its sound and say a few other words that start with this letter.
- On another day, choose a new letter to hunt for.