The ABCs for Parents
Ask your child about the school day.
Begin your child's day with a nourishing breakfast.
Congratulate you child for doing well.
Discuss homework with your child.
Encourage your child to read.
Find a quiet place for your child to study.
Give your child responsibility.
Hug your child to build self worth.
Include your child in making simple family decisions.
Join a library with your child.
Keep your child on a schedule that includes exercise and sleep.
Limit TV viewing by selecting programs with your child.
Make the time you spend with your child special.
Notice and discuss changes in your child's behavior.
Offer to help your child organize school papers.
Provide your child with good role models.
Question the activities your child shares with friends.
Respect your child's right to have opinions different from yours.
Share an interest or a hobby with your child.
Take time to listen to your child.
Urge your child to say "NO!" to unwanted touching.
Visit places of interest with your child.
Work with your child to set up rules of behavior.
Xerox and save records or articles that benefit your child.
Yield results by encouraging your child to do better.
Zoom through these ABCs again and again!
Developing Reading Behaviors
One of the first steps to becoming a reader is developing positive reading behaviors. Even before children can "read", they should be involved with books and print in a positive way. Children who have developed positive reading behaviors choose to read. They enjoy pretend reading, sharing ideas, and asking questions about stories.
Read to your child on a daily basis. You may want to establish a nightly routine of a bedtime story.
- Talk with your child about stories you have read together.
- Allow your child to "read" familiar stories to you. Accept his/her version of the story.
- Get a public library card for your child.
- Allow your child to select the story he/she would like to hear, even if you have already read it 100 times.
- Provide a special place for your child to keep his/her personal books and library books. This special place will send the message that books are important.
- Select different types of books and a wide variety of reading materials for your child to choose from (e.g., magazines, newspapers, nursery rhymes, fairy tales, recipes).
- Point out print in the environment (e.g., signs, cereal boxes, restaurants).
- Give books as gifts. Select high quality books with detailed illustrations. If you are not sure, ask your child's teacher or a salesperson at the bookstore.
- Be a model. Let your child see you reading. Remember, he/she wants to grow up to be just like you!
Developing Writing Behaviors
Children will experiment with writing just like they do with reading. Writing helps children organize their thoughts so they can express themselves. It also helps them begin to put the "puzzle" of letters and sounds together and therefore, helps the reading process. Children who have developed positive writing behaviors will choose to write and will share their writing with you.
Provide a variety of writing materials for your child (e.g., paper, note pads, cards, post-it notes, pencils, crayons, markers, clip board).
Provide a special place where your child can use the writing materials (e.g., spot at the kitchen table, a cleared coffee table, a desk).
- Accept what your child writes. Children go through stages of writing including scribbling, drawing pictures, and random letters (alphabet soup).
- Respond to the content of the writing, not how it looks or how words are spelled. Writing is not just copying.
- Provide a special place to display your child's writing, such as the front of the refrigerator or a small bulletin board.
- Provide real reasons for writing (e.g., grocery list, reminder notes, thank you notes, stories, signs).
- Answer your child's questions about writing.
- Help your child become self-reliant. If he/she asks how to spell a word, help stretch it out so your child can hear the sounds. Guide them through the word; do not get in the habit of spelling words for your child.
- Write notes to your child and put them in special places (e.g., bathroom mirror, lunch box, under the pillow).
- Be a model. Let your child see you writing. Remember he/she wants to grow up to be just like you!