Studies show a direct link between student socioeconomic status and vocabulary. By age 3, students from low-income families have a 30 million word gap as compared to their wealthier peers. Vocabulary used at an early age accurately predicts a child’s language and reading comprehension level in later years. To ensure your child’s success, here are some practical tips for developing literacy skills at every level!
Tips for Parents, Caregivers, and Families
My fondest childhood memories revolve around literacy. Every night, my parents would read us bedtime stories. In pre-primary school, I played spelling games with cut-out letters. In the car, I would avidly read passing street signs and billboards. My parents encouraged these experiences which ultimately cultivated my passion for learning.
Listen and Learn – Actively listen to your child. Discover her passions and interests and select books about those topics. Learning about new ideas together will teach your student that learning is a never-ending habit.
Read, Write, Discuss – Schedule time to read together. After reading, discuss the book. Ask comprehension questions such as: “what happened when…”, “why did she…”, “what would you change?”, “what was your favourite part?”. Ask him to explain vocabulary words and use them in a sentence or to write a new ending to the story! Increasing time spent reading, writing, and talking will improve literacy.
Challenge – Teens love challenges. Competition makes learning enjoyable. Find new opportunities to promote fun competition. Challenge your student to learn a new word a day, or to set a reading target. Challenge them to see how many books they can read in a term, or how long they can read uninterrupted.
Disconnect, Discuss, and Debate – When spending time together, put the phones away! Leverage daily routines to talk about the world and have debates. As students grow older, conversations about real-world events promote critical thinking and help students understand the world.
Read Together – Time spent together reading promotes a healthy reading culture. Regardless of what you prefer to read, make it a habit to read often and read together. Take a trip to the nearest library or book store. Allow your child to select a choice while you pick one of interest. Dozens of websites also offer free eBooks.
Language is all around us and developing literacy skills at home only requires the willingness to do so! Happy reading!
Contributor: Leah Anyanwu