Making Your Home a Learning Environment for Your Children\

by Jessica Fox, M.A., L.P.C.

You have probably heard the phrase “children are like sponges.” In other words, children soak up knowledge and details at a fast and intense pace. I experienced this first hand as an early education teacher before I became a counselor.

Many parents struggle with the ages between 2 years and 5 years where they want to push their child ahead of the game when it comes to reading. There are many ways to get your children interested in reading and comprehension without forcing them to read a book that is not age-appropriate or pushing them too hard to write words or full sentences.

With all of the new technology out there to help youngsters learn to read and write, let us not forget about some simple activities that can encourage your children without making them feel stupid if they are not where you think they should be with regard to reading and writing.

Yes, there is a ton of competition out there and the earlier your child is exposed to literacy the better. But you might notice that the harder you push your child to read before age 5, the more they may resist. Here is a list of other ways to expose your children to word comprehension without pushing too hard and inadvertently turning them off to reading:

*Many of these activities are based on the “whole language” approach.
  1. Label toys and furniture in your child’s room or playroom (you can also label it in two different languages to help your child become bilingual)
  2. Point to each word when you read to your child; read slowly and with punctuation
  3. When your child reads to you, do not be afraid to correct his/her mistakes (practice makes permanent, NOT perfect)
  4. Make a grocery list and let your toddler or young child help
  5. Play a rhyming game with your child
  6. Point out and say traffic signs when driving in the car
  7. Answer your child’s questions, even when they are repetitive and become annoying or seem inane! Patience, patience, patience!
  8. Follow your child’s lead—read a page from a book, and when your child sounds like he/she wants to try, let your child have a go and take over again when he/she has had enough.
  9. Let your child finish the sentence of a book he/she knows from memory. Or, if he/she knows the book from memory, make your child point to each word as he/she recites it.

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