Literacy Series Post #6: Supporting Your Child’s Reading At Home

April 10, 2013

“If you add a little to a little, and then do it again, soon that little shall be much.” -Hesiod

Listed below are some general suggestions for things that parents can do to help support the reading growth of their children. These are general suggestions, meant to be useful for almost any child, and there may be other things your child’s teacher will want you to do that are focused on the specific needs of your child. All of these suggestions come from research on the way children learn to read. If you do some of them regularly in a motivating and supportive way, they will help your child make faster progress in learning to read. Many of these activities, such as those that build vocabulary and teach children to think while they read, will also help your child ultimately be a much better reader than he or she might otherwise become.

Kindergarten

1. Create a special workspace and schedule daily quiet time for your child to do his/her homework from school. Be sure this is a time you are available to help if needed.

2. Schedule 15 minutes of special time everyday to read to your child. Before you read each book, read the title and look at the cover and pictures inside. Ask your child what she thinks the book may be about (prediction). After reading the book, review her prediction. Was the prediction right? If not, what happened instead?

3. Plan to go to the school library, public library, or the local bookstore once each week and read a new book together. After reading each book, talk to him about what happened at the beginning, the middle, and the end of the story.

4. Play rhyming games. Say two words that rhyme (e.g. cat, sat) and ask your child to say a word that rhymes with your words. Take turns. Ask your child to say a word and then you respond with a rhyming word. For example, child says “cat”, parent says “hat”; child says “chair”, parent says “pair”.

5. Take turns thinking of two words that begin with the same sound. Examples: mom, moon; dog, door; fun, fast; paper, pet.

6. Play the “say it fast” game. Say a word, one sound at a time and have your child say the word at a normal rate. For example, you say each sound in the word cat, “/c/ /a/ /t/.” Then your child says the word at the normal speed, “cat.” Play this game with about five to ten short words (e.g. am, is, it, in, on, sit, pan, sun, top, net, fin) each day.

7. Take every opportunity you can to help increase your child’s vocabulary. You can do this by pointing to things and asking the child to tell you what they are, or you can stop and explain the meaning of any words in your reading that the child may not understand. The more you talk to your child, the faster their vocabulary will grow.

First Grade

1. Create a special workspace and schedule daily quiet time for your child to do his/her homework from school. Be sure this is a time you are available to help if needed.

2. Schedule 15 minutes of special time everyday to read with your child. Take turns reading a page at a time. Or, read a sentence and then have your child reread that same sentence until you read through the whole book.

3. Plan to go to the school library, public library, or the local bookstore once each week and read a new book together. After each story is read, ask her to retell the story to you. Go back to the story to reread sections if she needs help retelling the story in sequence.

4. Play the “say the word slowly” game. Say a word at normal rate and then have your child say that same word slowly, one sound at a time. For example, say the word, “mat.” Then your child will say that same word slowly, one sound at a time, “/m/ /a/ /t/.” Play this game using about five to ten short words each day.

5. Fold a piece of paper into three parts. Let your child draw a picture of something he did in sequence. Then help your child write one sentence under each picture explaining what he did first, next and last.

6. Take turns thinking of two words that end with the same sound. Examples: mom, some; dog, rug; fun, ran; paper, feather.

7. Take every opportunity you can to help increase your child’s vocabulary. You can do this by pointing to things and asking the child to tell you what they are, or you can stop and explain the meaning of any words in your reading that the child may not understand. The more you talk to your child, the faster their vocabulary will grow.

Second Grade

1. Create a special workspace and schedule daily quiet time for your child to do his/her homework from school. Be sure this is a time you are available to help if needed.

2. Schedule 15 minutes of special time everyday to listen to your child read.

3. Go to the school library, public library, or to the local bookstore once each week and read a new book together. Read the title then look at the cover and pictures inside. Ask your child to predict what the book is about. After reading the book, review prediction then ask about the characters, setting, problem and solution.

4. Fact or Opinion Game: The parent says a sentence to the child then asks whether it is a fact or opinion. Ex: The weather is nice. (Opinion) A dog can bark. (Fact)

5. Encourage reading fluency by having your child read and reread familiar books. It can also be helpful to have your child read a short passage over several times while you record the time it takes. Children often enjoy seeing if they can improve their time from one reading to the next, and the repeated reading helps to establish a habit of fluent reading.

6. Pick out a new vocabulary word from one of the books you are reading with your child. Talk about what it means then make up a sentence with the new word. Try to use the word again that week.

If your child is a struggling reader and you want professional support in helping your child read, please visit our website to make an appointment for an evaluation.

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Communication: Just a Few Changes Make All the Difference……

January 25, 2012

By practicing the following changes in our style of communication, many children diagnosed with Autism and receptive/ expressive language delays may increase their language and social skills, peer interactions, expand play skills, and follow directions with greater confidence.

Eye level Contact: To increase social interaction and gain eye contact with your child, remember to kneel down to his/ her eye level. Face to face eye contact allows the child to see your whole face, imitate facial expressions, and respond to your verbal directions. This position also gives you an opportunity to put your arm around your child’s waist to face him toward you, touch his/her shoulders to gain attention, or model hand gestures with hand-over-hand assistance.

Tone of Voice: Your child might be sensitive to the pitch and tone of your voice. If your child covers his ears, winces, or looks away when you speak to him, practice lowering your tone of voice to a moderate level. When you are at your child’s eye level, speak slowly and clearly.  Use visual aids to enhance communication. For example; tap on the chair and say “Sit in the chair”, or show an item or a picture of where you want your child to go.

Exaggerated facial expressions/ hand gestures: If your child does not imitate your facial expressions and hand gestures, practice exaggerating your face and hand movements as a model. For example, when your child sees you from across the room, make a large happy face and big eyes. Wave your hands in a large swooping motion, as opposed to wiggling your fingers in tight/ small motions. A person standing next to your child can help him/ her respond by assisting to wave back in the same fashion.  Exaggerated facial expressions and hand gestures allows your child to feel the sensation of movement and encourage muscle memory, which promotes communication.

Body Proximity: Avoid speaking to your child when his back is to you. Often, children have difficulty filtering out the sounds in a room, and distinguishing a parent’s voice at the same time. Try moving close to your child and mirroring his position before speaking to him. For example if your child is on the floor playing with cars, join him on the floor. Gain his eye contact by bringing a toy to the side of your face, then speak to him/ her.

First____, Then_____…. When asking your child to follow directions, remember to keep your child’s motivation in mind. He/ she may not prefer to put on his shoes, for example. But if he/ she wants to go to the park, incorporate that as a reward in a two step direction. For example “First, put your shoes on. Then, we will go to the park.” A simpler version could be “First, shoes…Then, park.”

With a few adjustments, and a lot of practice, children diagnosed with Autism and receptive/ expressive language delays will learn new ways to respond to their environment, and expand their communication skills. Adults can offer the support a child needs by changing our communicative habits to meet the needs of children.

 

-April Kumlin, Speech and Language Pathologist Assistant