It’s the time of year when big learning leaps are right around the corner. If your little one is in kindergarten their reading is probably just taking off or about to take off. This was one of the most rewarding times to be a kindergarten teacher because so many connections were finally made in their brains. Allllll our hard work of learning the letters and sounds of the alphabet, the hundred + times we sang the alphabet sign language song – it all starts to click now! At the same time, there are always some kiddos who the lightbulb doesn’t light up right now. If you’re feeling like the latter, give it a little more time and then ask questions at conferences. In the meantime, I know you’re looking for ways to sneak in more reading practice at home, so here are a few of my favorites!
Whether you have a kindergartener or a preschooler, you have the opportunity to have a big impact on your child’s perception of “reading” and books. It’s more simple than you might think. Take the pressure off! If the book is too easy or too hard for them, but they’re enjoying it – let them keep reading it! If they only want to read/look at the same book over & over again, let them keep reading it. If they want a chapter book that’s too hard for them (yet isn’t totally inappropriate for them) – let them keep reading it. What message does this send to your child? Books and reading are enjoyable and flexible.
A trap so many of us fall into is that kids have to read every word all the time. Think about it – if we had to read every single word of everything we read, wouldn’t we feel frustrated too? It takes the fun and leisure out of it. Once they get to kindergarten, then they’re learning specific skills in a specific order, at a specific time to learn how to read. You can ask for clarification from your child’s teacher, but in my experience, the most helpful thing parents can do is keep up the book exposure without adding any sort of pressure. The second we add pressure is the second it becomes a messy, complicated, potentially detrimental thing. They have plenty of “pressure” and “you have to do this right now” at school. You get to take that off your plate!
One fun way to increase book exposure & entertainment is to go to the library! Take your kids to the library and limit them to the kids section, but let them choose a wider variety than you usually do. Let them pick the book that’s too difficult that they pretend read. Let them pick the too easy picture book. Let the goal of this be: enjoying books. When they’re soooo excited about a book, that’s a winner. (Bonus tip: set an alert in your calendar to notify you when your books are almost due!)
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