The Parent's Role

Start early.

A child who is enthusiastic about reading is one who decodes easily, comprehends what he or she has read, and is motivated to read. These may sound like "school" activities, but parents who help raise kids who love words early create a foundation for them in their preschool years.

Make it fun.

Parents who raise happy readers do not take a tiger parent approach. They discover and utilize ways to connect reading with pleasure. Say no to flashcards and drills. Say yes to conversations, stories and games. It's time to take a break and have some fun – let's go get some books!

Let them try, and try again.

Decoding takes patience, especially during the sound-it-out phase. There are no mistakes because trying is part of the process. Resist the urge to correct. Preschoolers like to do things over and are blissfully unselfconscious. You are the supportive audience, their guide to how letters connect to the sounds they can already make.

You already know the basics.

The foundation of reading is language. Without a doubt, the most important step you can take on the path to early literacy is to immerse your child in world filled with words.

  • Talk to your child, a lot. The more words your child hears, the faster their vocabulary grows. The more stuff you explain to them, the greater their knowledge of the world and how things work.
  • Read aloud with your child on a daily basis. There is no better way for them to learn how books work and how much fun books are.
  • Talk about what you have read after you read it. Keep the conversation going.
  • Have as many books in the house as you can, and keep them in many places. When you leave the house, always ask, "Should we take some books along?"
  • Read yourself, often and in your child's presence. Your child wants to do what he or she sees that you enjoy doing.
  • Teach them the alphabet, sing the song. Look at letters a lot. Point them out, talk about their shapes and practice sounds.

There is one more thing.

While immersed in a language-rich environment, your child needs ways to connect verbal fluency and the fulfillment of conversing to printed language and the pleasure of reading. That's where Tessy and Tab come in.

The Natural Starting Point > How Kids Learn to Read > The Parent's Role > Building Skills and Character

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