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It is important that children learn and use new words to help them improve their speaking and listening skills. This builds the foundations for success in reading and writing.
Use everyday events and outings such as a visit to the post office, park or zoo to help your child develop their vocabulary in different situations.
Involve your child in conversations when playing with toys, at mealtimes or sharing with other family members.
Involve your child in talking about his or her experiences. Encourage him or her to add details.
Play board games and word games. These help children to see the way that language works.
Sing songs and recite poems and chants. Have fun with rhyme and rhythm.
Encourage your child to participate in conversations with other children and adults.
Ask your child to stop what they are doing when you need them to listen carefully to something.
To ensure that your child is encouraged to write, consider the following questions.
• Does my child see others writing at various times?
• Is a place provided where my child can sit and write?
• Does my child have large blank paper to write on and a variety of writing materials?
• Do I encourage my child to hold a pencil correctly?
• Do I talk about print I see in the environment, e.g. signs outside shops, traffic signs?
• Is my child encouraged to take notice of print, e.g. find words they know such as a stop sign starts with the letter ‘s’?
• Do I display my child’s attempts at writing, perhaps by displaying them on the refrigerator or wall?
• Do I praise and value all attempts at writing, and see it as ‘real’ writing?
• Is my child read to every day?
• Is my child encouraged to join in when being read to, e.g. turning the pages, holding the book, reading the parts they remember?
• Is my child encouraged to act out or retell stories he or she has heard?
It is important for you to write with your child so that they can see you writing and hear what you are thinking when you are writing.
Encourage your child to help write; reminders about jobs to do; emails to friends and relatives; making cards for special events; phone messages and shopping lists.
Games that we all played as children continue to be an enjoyable way for children of any age to take an interest in words. Do your children play any of the following?
‘I Spy …’
Tic Tac Toe
What Comes Next?
It’s never too early to start reading to your child ‐ the sooner the better. No matter what their age, children enjoy listening to someone read to them.
Have lots of stimulating reading material at home; comics, magazines, newspapers, recipe books, street maps, dictionaries, riddles, jokes, fact books about world records, sports and trivia, poetry and short chapter books, websites and book CD’s and any other books that interest your child.
Children need to hear words and sentences because this is how they learn to read - they don’t learn by only looking at words.
Make reading a family activity – brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, and grandparents can also read to your child.
Talk to your child about books you have read together.
Let your child see that you value and enjoy reading, and that it is a worthwhile and pleasurable activity.
Reading to your child allows them to add new words to their vocabulary and in turn helps them to become more capable readers. Research has shown that students need to develop an awareness of seven/eight new words each day throughout their school life!
Look for words everywhere, such as street signs, shops, and letters. Read them with your child.