Years ago when I was a new mom, people told me about all of the exciting milestones I could look forward to in my daughter’s life: her first smile, first steps, first words. Nothing could have prepared me however, for the joy that came with watching my little girl begin to recognize letters – a first and most important step on the path toward learning to read. For as long as I can remember, I’ve read anything I could get my hands on, so I am delighted to see that same passion for books in my little reader.
My daughter’s name is Ayva, so naturally the first letter she learned to identify and write was the letter A. Every week or so, I’d introduce a new letter to her. At 2, she was up to about eight letters and letter sounds. Once she became aware of the letters, she started seeing them everywhere, and couldn’t contain her excitement when she saw one that she recognized. Delighted, she’d shout out, “Look, Mommy! I see an A, like my name!” or “There’s a D for d-d-duck!”
Although I’ve always read to Ayva any chance we could get, now that she’s getting older and will be starting kindergarten in the Fall, we are adding more structure to our reading efforts. I believe that Ayva’s incredible interest in words has a lot to do with the fact that I’ve always been pretty intentional in the way that we read together. Literacy-focused games and activities added depth to our reading time when Ayva was younger, and because of them, I was able to see my early reader’s literacy skills grow and develop before my eyes!
Here are three easy tips that have helped us and may help you and your little reader too:
- Attach the sounds to letters as you are teaching your child to identify letters. Instead of just showing them the letter F and encouraging them to remember how it looks, teach them what F sounds like. Phonetically teaching your child letters will make learning to read much easier when the time comes.
- Find tactile ways to introduce letters to your little one. Have them trace letters on a paper plate filled with salt or shaving cream, or mold them out of clay. When they are able to literally get their hands on the letters, it will help them to connect on a different level, and they’ll be more likely to remember them.
- Remember that recognizing symbols and numbers is an important piece of being literate. Celebrate when your child is able to correctly identify those, just as you would when they successfully point out letters or words.
Terrence and I have used a few tools to work on Ayva’s reading. Some of our favorites are:
These books are a fantastic tool for parents who are teaching their little ones to read. You can start with letter recognition, go up to sight words, word families, and everything else kids need to learn in order to become great readers. Even if your child already reads, Bob Books can help them to read better.
Entertaining and educational, the TAG Reading System’s biggest strength is helping children to comprehend stories. Many of the activities can be done by your child independently, too!
The best part about ABCmouse is that it makes learning fun. There are so many different types of activities to choose from, that children who have different learning styles should be able to find something that is interesting for them. I let Ayva play a few times per month (it is screen time, after all!), but when she does play, she has a great time singing songs, cheering herself for getting correct answers, and challenging herself on the different games and activities.
Isn’t being a parent fun? We get the fantastic job of introducing all sorts of cool experiences to our children. By encouraging our children to be avid readers, we are able to give them a whole world filled with opportunities and adventure! The best part of it all? We can go along for the ride!