Toddlers should be learning to read and write as early as possible. Don’t wait for your children to enter preschool or kindergarten before teaching them to be literate. Numerous studies have shown that early literacy is essential for helping children to become better readers and writers as they grow older. If they get a late start at this, it will be much harder for them to learn these very important skills.
Since toddlers don’t have teachers who can help them become more literate, it is up to parents to be their children’s teachers. This doesn’t require you to have any special college education or certification. If you already know how to read and write yourself, then you are qualified to teach your children. What matters is the approach in how you teach them.
Below are 10 parenting tips which you can follow that will help your kids learn literacy early in their lives.
1) Bedtime Stories
Bedtime stories should always be part of your child’s pre-sleeping regimen. The earlier you start this routine the better, even if they’re a baby and you just brought them home from the hospital. Babies that hear language will slowly grow into that language as soon as they become toddlers.
2) Always be a Teacher
Parents should never stop being teachers to their young children. Whenever you interact with your child, try to teach them something no matter how small or insignificant it may seem. For example, if your child asks you for something, you should remind them to say “please” first. This will teach them proper manners. When you prepare food for your child and put it in front of them, point to each piece of food and teach them what it is called. These are examples of how you can always be a teacher.
3) Schedule Reading Time at Home
Do not let children learn their reading from smartphones and tablets. You need to schedule a time every day when you actually sit down with your child and make them read to you from a book. You can be there to help them along with the reading if they’re stuck on certain words.
4) Use Kachy TV Nursery Rhymes
Kachy TV is a website dedicated to teaching words and names to young kids through the use of nursery rhymes and various educational songs. For example, if you want to teach your children about the names of animals, you can play animal songs for them which go over animal names while playing a catchy song at the same time. There are many baby songs to choose from on the website and they will make learning even more fun for a toddler with a short attention span.
5) Ask Lots of Questions
When your child has finished reading from a book, you’ll want to make sure that they actually paid attention to what was happening in the story. Therefore, you need to ask them questions about what happened in the story and see if they can answer them correctly. If they can, then it means they understood what they read and can remember it. If not, they need to keep working on developing their reading skills.
6) Have Child Write a Story
Once your child has proven themselves as a reader and they have basic knowledge of writing letters and words, you should ask them to write you a story of their own. It is important they get experience developing their own creative writing skills at an early age. This will prepare them for when they write essays in school later in their lives.
7) Teach the Alphabet
Remember that your child won’t learn the alphabet until they go to school. If you want to give them an early start at reading and writing, you need to teach them all the letters of the alphabet. This includes how they’re written and how they’re pronounced in speech. Then you can associate these letters with words and teach them how letters make up words.
8) Kids’ Magazines
You want to make reading as fun and interactive as possible. Magazines like “Highlights” or “National Geographic for Kids” are designed to peak the interests of children. Some of these magazines even have activities that kids can perform to learn new words as well.
Obviously, you can’t be around your child every second of the day. If you don’t have time to read to them, you could always play some educational audiobooks for them which are made for children. This will give you the time that you need to do other chores around the house while your child is continuing to listen to spoken language.
10) Associate Pictures with Words
Learning a language is never easy, even when it’s your first language. It is not always enough to just learn a word by reading a written definition of what it means. Like adults, kids are also visual learners and they can learn words much faster if you show them a picture of what a word means. For example, if you’re teaching them colors then you show pictures of those colors. If you’re teaching them what “tree” means, then you show them a picture of a tree. Then, whenever they hear these words again, those pictures will pop into their heads.
About the Author
Rita Izu- is a mother and an RN working in a hospital setting. She’s passionate about nursery rhymes and writing and supporting other women in her community to have a voice in their world. Rita believes that every woman has a talent which she needs to use to make her life and the life of her family fun and more interesting. She’s s a contributing writer for www.kachytv.com/blog and innovative about the impact mothers, teachers and women and men can make in the lives of their children and family.