[Guest Post by Janis Cox]
With 7 simple tips, you can encourage reading and writing skills in your children. Studies are showing that the earlier children are shown words, the earlier they will make the connection between symbols and language. Early squiggles from children are important – they turn into letters, then they turn into words.
They remind me of hieroglyphs – pictures to show language.
My grandson is 3 years old. He loves to write on cards, his name, and words. He is proud of his accomplishments and his mommy posts his work on the refrigerator.
Appreciating that writing is “something that stands for something else, it actually is a vehicle for language – that’s pretty powerful stuff,” said Temple University psychology professor Kathy Hirsh-Pasek (from an article in the Associated Press by Lauran Neegaard).
7 tips to encourage reading and writing skills in your children
- Make books available from birth. Read to your child while in utero. Make books part of your home environment. Children are never too young to be read to. Show them that you take time to read and write.
- Read to them. Lots. When you are reading to your child put your finger under each word. They will, of course, at the beginning, be looking at the pictures. Gradually they will see that you are showing them something – squiggles – and the connection will start.
- Show your children how to write their names, long before they are able to print them. This will establish the thought that those particular squiggles mean a word they know – themselves.
- Record their stories. Let them tell you something and you write it down. Then you read it back. You can read it again before bed. They will be pleasantly surprised that their story has a permanent place and can be recalled when they want to hear it again.
- Let them free line draw. Give them a pencil or a pen – this will help to establish a difference between drawing and writing. Don’t try to guess what they are creating. Ask them. Let them tell you their story. Gradually they will make connections and start asking how to print letters and words. Once letters are established the learning continues with printing words using those letters.
- Once they have learned to form letters and are beginning to make words, encourage them to develop their own way of writing them. Invention is a positive process in the learning curve. Once again ask-don’t guess-what they have written. For example “I W T T S” – translation – I went to the store. That’s the beginning of written communication.
- Post their work in a prominent position. They will love to see it and also will “read” it back to you.
“Children at this very early age really know a lot more than we had previously thought,” said developmental psychologist Rebecca Treiman of Washington University in St. Louis, who co-authored the study (from an article in The Associated press by Lauran Neergaard).
Encourage your children.
Activities to encourage reading and writing skills in young children:
In addition to a career as a homemaker and teacher in the public school system, Janis was a partner in a Canadian small business with her husband, Wayne. They currently reside in Haliburton, Ontario, Canada and winter in Mesa, Arizona. Their family of three married children and seven grandchildren keep them active and enthused. Snowball, their maltipoo, is a fun loving ball of fur whose need for walks keeps them outside and exercising often.
Janis has been blogging since 2008. In 2012 she published an award-winning children’s book Tadeo Turtle. In 2001, Janis gave her life to Christ. She started journaling as a way to organize her thoughts, feelings, and prayers. Janis is a member of two cross-Canada Christian writers’ groups, The Word Guild and Inscribe Christian Writers Fellowship. She ran a group blog called Under the Cover of Prayer for four years and recently she joined Hope Stream Radio, an Internet radio station. Her talk Growing Through God’s Word can be heard each Tuesday.
Janis loves to tell others about what God has done and is doing in her life. Janis can be reached on her website, Growing Through God’s Word and on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter. Please join her at Word of God Speak Facebook Group to learn more about memorizing Scripture through art. Please join her Newsletter and get the latest updates on her books, some fun recipes, and other interesting topics.
Some of the ideas in this post were recalled after reading the article in the Arizona Republic on Monday, January 11, 2016.