Assign a 'primary' menu

Tag Archives for " early childhood literacy "

Jul 27

How To Encourage Your Child’s Love of Reading

By Dr. Jack Singer | Blog , Children and Family , General

Teaching Your Child to Read by Dr. Jack SingerReading, and a love for reading begins long before a child enters preschool or kindergarten. It begins at home! By reading with and to your children early in life, you are setting them firmly on the path to later success.

There are so many fun activities that we can do with our children to get them excited about books and the world of reading. When kids are having fun, it is so much easier to draw them into something – like the wonderful world of literature. The very best thing we can do is to guide and direct them to enjoy it for themselves. When we are intrinsically motivated to do something, it is a much more lasting motivation.

Here are some family reading time tips for parents or caregivers of young children:

  • Read together every day. This is family time, bonding time, and it is so important to both you and the child! Be sure to express to your child or children how much you enjoy and value this time together.
  • Explore the story with your child. When you have finished a chapter or a book, ask your child what their favorite part of the story was. Then have them draw a picture of the part of the narrative that so captured their imagination. When they are done, ask them for a short explanation of their picture and that part in the story.
  • Build critical thinking skills. Play a guessing game with your child as the story progresses. Ask specific questions on the plot or key events to ‘set the stage’ for reading such as: “So what is going on in the story?”, “What happened so far?” “Where are they at?”. ” What do you think will happen next?”. This will teach your child how to find, identify, extract and understand main ideas.
  • Develop skills in processing and understanding text as they read. As your child is reading, they will come across unknown vocabulary or expressions. Pause and see if they understand what they are reading. Explain or define the word or expression and then them re-read the paragraph or section.

An activity that will help with reading and make your little one feel a bit more grown up is helping you cook from a cookbook. You can explain to your child that it is important to put the ingredients in and follow the instructions in the recipe in order. Then you let your child be in charge of reading the recipe to you as you make the dish. You will, of course, give them any help they need. But they can also read the labels on the ingredients that you are using. For instance, they can help you differentiate between baking powder and baking soda and make sure you get the right one. Perhaps you might even let them fix your ‘mistake’ when you pick up the wrong one.

When you can get a child excited about things – making pictures, funny games that maybe lead to silly stories, helping in the kitchen and feeling like a big kid – you help to raise their confidence and also their motivation to really enjoy books and reading. Getting creative and changing things up can inspire children to get reading!

Free 20 Minute Telephone Consultation with Psychologist Dr. Jack Singer


Jul 20

Why You Should Read To Your Young Children

By Dr. Jack Singer | Children and Family , General

Why You Should Read Outloud To Your Children by Dr. Jack SingerReading out loud to children of all ages is very important. It is so helpful in their literacy development and also in their mastery of language. Studies have shown that children that don’t have people reading aloud to them struggle in school and later in life in several areas. We know that to become successful you have to be literate in our society, so it is incumbent upon us to do a better job of helping children at these beginning stages and throughout their development.

Reading out loud to children can expand their vocabularies, foster more vivid imaginations, and help them learn pronunciation skills. Some sentences or sections of books or even whole books may get skipped over if a child is only reading to himself. When the text is beyond the child’s level of literacy, they are much more likely to choose something else to read. So therefore, when children are read to, they are being exposed to literature that they may not be able to evince any interest in.

It can be also good for kids to hear books that are above their own reading levels. They are exposed to sentence structure, words, and concepts that they would not normally encounter on their own. Their brains are being fed and nurtured and they do not even realize it. They are just enjoying the experience of having someone read to them. Not only are you spending some very quality time with the child, but you are building on their literacy development and speaking skills. The experience of the read-aloud time can be a great bonding time between a mother and a child, an older sibling and a younger sibling, or a teacher and her students. They are coming together over a book they both enjoy and sharing a pleasant time together.

When we turn reading into a pleasurable experience like this is so unbelievably good for children, in terms of motivating them to read and to love and enjoy books. So often books turn into ‘just a part of school’ for children, they turn into ‘work’, and many children get really turned off from books because they view reading as a chore and just naturally rebel. Doing all that we can, as their caregivers, to show them how wonderful an experience reading is will do tremendous good in keeping them excited about reading.

Be Consistent

At a certain point during children’s school years, parents and teachers stop reading out loud to kids. Often this happens when the child goes to middle school. Experts suggest that we continue to read to children of all ages. It is a wonderful bonding time we can spend with children and it is still very good for them, even if we – or they – feel they are too old for it. The biggest thing you will be doing is to keep them interested in reading for pleasure. Just like when they were first learning to read and there was that danger of their equating reading with work, the very same thing happens in the teen years. This is true for many teens. There are some who will still read for pleasure, but, they are becoming rare.

Helping our children develop these life-critical skills begins with conversations and a commitment to read aloud every day. And that commitment doesn’t end when they begin school and learn to read. It is imperative that we encourage older children to continue to read. As parents, we must stay attuned to the things that interest them and work hard to help them find reading material that match those interests. We must guide our children to become lifelong readers and lifelong learners. And we can do that at home, with some fun family bonding time. And in so doing, we will also be strengthening our families.

Free 20 Minute Telephone Consultation with Psychologist Dr. Jack Singer

Jul 11

How Do You Talk To Your Baby?

By Dr. Jack Singer | Children and Family , General

How Do You Talk To Your Baby by Dr. Jack SingerDid you know that talking to your baby during pregnancy can help build their language and literacy competency? As improbable as it may sound, developing children’s literacy skills actually begins during pregnancy. In fact, mothers have been doing this since the dawn of time.

When mothers talk to their babies while they’re still in the womb many researches believe that is actually the first step in language development. One thing for sure is that babies get used to the sound of their mother’s voice and perhaps when they are born, that familiarity lends itself to quicker recognition and a fast bond after birth. This is also a wonderful time for the father to bond with both his wife and his unborn child. Many men report that they enjoy gently massaging the mother’s belly and talking to the baby.

Do you love music? Music is thought to be pre-linguistic and contributes to your baby’s foundation for language skills. Listening to music yourself, and singing tunes you enjoy can provide healthy stimulation for your child’s development.

Of course when babies are born, it is very helpful to them for their parents to continue speaking. Babies will start to recognize sounds and get to know gestures and facial expressions. Babies learn so much from the sights and sounds around them and will begin, almost immediately, to try to imitate the sounds their parents make. This is all part of the process of babies figuring out how we, as humans, communicate with each other.  They will start to recognize how we relay information to each other in narrative form and begin to learn how to do that themselves.

We begin to see babies’ story-telling skills emerge in the toddler days when they launch into those long, animated baby monologues. When we listen intently to one of these stories that babies tell, it is almost like we can actually follow along, because, the child is so excited in relaying the details to us. It is very much like watching a foreign-language TV show. If you watch it long enough, you begin to follow the story, even if you don’t understand a word of it. That is the power of the narrative – and the baby has learned that skill from watching us and listening to us intently.

Parents can use every opportunity throughout the day to talk to their baby about anything and everything. That is a great way to build up the babies’ early literacy foundation. When washing the dishes or making dinner or cleaning up, parents can explain the tasks they are doing to their baby. Babies will begin to hear familiar words if the parents are in the habit of doing this frequently.

It is so tempting, when talking to babies and toddlers, to use baby talk. Experts suggest parents speak properly to their children, however, so the children can have the most possible exposure to the correct sound of words. For example, if a child has a ‘baby word’ for banana, and the parent constantly uses that ‘baby word’ back to the child, they are only reinforcing the incorrect pronunciation.

Even if a parent sometimes uses their babies’ pronunciations of words, the important point is that the child is being talked to frequently throughout their day. It is an essential building block of language, and therefore literacy, development.

Free 20 Minute Telephone Consultation with Psychologist Dr. Jack Singer