I recently read a Facebook post from an “old” Mommy Friend…she and I were in the same Baby Talk and New Moms Network back when we lived in Minnesota (we’ve since moved to Chicgao). Her post went something like, “Can’t believe we’re sending our babies off to Kindergarten and to think we met each other 5 years ago!”
In Minnesota, kids don’t start school until after Labor Day. It is sort of an old-fashioned rule from way back when most families were farmers. They needed the kids home as long as possible to help with the fall harvest.
Our “babies” are no longer babies, but they are now playing with letters, words, and circle time. Here are some tips you can use to help extend those activities at home:
- Talk to your Child: Encourage him to explain something about his day. Asking, “Tell me what you did at school” is not specific enough. Better: “Who did you sit next to at lunch/snack?” “Who did you play with at recess?” “What’s one cool/dumb thing that happened today?” (speak in their language).
- Say silly tongue twisters: Songs, rhyming books, whatever you like…just make sure it’s playful and helps your child hear new sounds and how they sound alike (try alliteration), “I know a little bunny and I love her little tummy…she’s my Kelly Mac!”
- Read it and experience it: Connect a book to a real-life experience like apple picking or something else your family has done recently
- Use your child’s name in a home-spun jingle: Point out connections between letters and sounds, “Kate and Kelly begin with K! Kate and Kelly like to fly kites…Ka-ka-ka…K!”
- Trace and say letters: Sand, sidewalk chalk, even “drawing” a letter with your finger on your child’s back is a fun way to teach letters.
- Write it down: Make sure your child has pens, markers, pencils, crayons and paper handy. Practice writing things down often. Even if you make a grocery list together, it still counts!
- Play sound games: Our therapist often suggested we make words by holding each sound longer as in, “Guess what this word is? B-A-T” You may have to do it a few times in a row for her to “get it,” but she will. Works great in the car.
- Read, Read, Read! Even if it’s a favorite, read it again. Be sure to pause and ask what happened at various points and then have your child re-cap at the end of the reading session (building comprehesion and sequencing).
- Make a game with letters. Think “Eye Spy” with a twist…”I’m thinking of a letter that makes the sssssssss sound.”
Check out www.ReadingRockets.org for more ideas on how you can make reading and letters fun. This blog was inspired by a hand-out from Kate’s school entitled, “Tips for Parents of Kindergartners.”