Six skills that help your child learn to read - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Six skills that help your child learn to read

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Six skills that help your child learn to read

It's never too early to prepare your child for success and school - and success in life - by reading to your little one every day! As a parent, you have a very important role- you are your child's first teacher.

When you read to your child, not only is your child enjoying a great story, he or she is also learning some basic pre-reading skills. In fact, recent research by the National Institute for Child and Human Development identifies six different skills that are reinforced by reading with your child.

The six pre-reading skills your child is learning when you read together are:

Vocabulary- Reading together helps children learn the names of things. Learning words begins at birth and continues to grow throughout a child's life. Most children will start school knowing between 3,000 and 5,000 words. You can aid vocabulary by talking about a story and the pictures in a book. Be sure to talk together about feelings, ideas and how things work. When children know many words, it helps them recognize written words and understand what they read.

Print Motivation- Children who love books will want to learn how to read. So visit your library often, and be a reading role model- let your child see you read. And don't forget that the closeness you feel during book sharing time creates a special bond between you and your child.

Narrative Skills- Being able to tell or retell a story helps children understand what they read. Read a favorite book together, and let your child tell you the story. Ask lots of questions when you read together- point to a picture and say, "What's that?" or "What's happening here?" and let your child answer.

Print Awareness - Being familiar with the printed word on a page helps children feel comfortable with books and understand that print is useful. Read aloud the print you see in your environment - labels, signs, lists, menus- even the back of a cereal box! When you read a book together, point to the words as you say them, especially words that are repeated often.

Letter Knowledge - Knowing the names and sounds of letters puts children on the fast track to learn how to say written words. So write your child's name, use magnetic letters on the refrigerator, and point out and name letters when reading alphabet books.

Phonological Awareness- Becoming aware of the smaller sounds that make up words are key to promoting a child's reading success. You can encourage phonological awareness by saying rhymes and singing songs. You can also try to say words with chunks left out, such as "What word would we have if we took the "base" away from "baseball?" Or put two word parts together to make a word: "What word would we have if we put "hot" and "dog" together?"

Brochures about reading skills are available in the children's section at all Spokane Public Libraries, or you can call the Youth Services Coordinator for more information at (509) 444-5331. For more information on pre-reading skills, go to the Public Library Association website at www.pla.org/earlyliteracy.htm.

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