Reading and writing are subjects we all should have the right and opportunity to master. The ability to read and write enhances communication and provides us with two very important survival mechanisms.
In order to make literacy a reality in most cultures the process of learning needs to begin with its children. Parents are the most important educators for young minds. In those early pre-school years a child’s development is significantly dependent on their mothers and father’s interaction and involvement.
Fostering bright, inquisitive minds among children is a parent’s responsibility. By making learning a user friendly task, children will take to something like reading and writing more readily because it’s fun. Make it fun and they will play and inevitably learn.
Start the “learning” ball rolling when your children are still babes in arms. Sing lullabies to your child. The singing voice is soothing and creates a connective bond between parent and child. When your child is six months old begin reading, choosing books with brightly colored pictures. Place the book directly in front of your child as you read. Make it a visual and audio treat. Let your child hold the book in their hands as you read. By doing so, you will instill a solid correlation between reading books and pleasure.
When children are still toddlers or preschoolers include them in your conversation and be a part of theirs. Language is the key here and children need to explore it from an early age. While your child is walking with you and stops to play in a pile of leaves take the opportunity to initiate the Five W’s in conversation. Start with “what”. Ask your child what kind of leaf they are you holding and then match the leaf with the appropriate tree.
Your questions will certainly arouse new curiosity and before you know it you’ll be providing all kinds of answers to a steady stream of “why” questions. Be patient and accommodating. When the moment is right for your child you can answer a question with the help of a book. A child will quickly discover the importance of books as a resource to satisfy their need for answers. Remember to make the experience playful and the act of reading will become fun.
Approach children and writing in the same way as you would the act of reading. Make the task playful and memorable. Introduce the alphabet on posters and hang them on their bedroom walls. Explain how simple words like “house” and “mother” are made from the letters of the alphabet. Write out the words and let your children practice writing the words themselves.
Connecting the world of words to the alphabet will only serve to make the early days of elementary school easier for your child and their teachers.
When your child does begin to write formally encourage storytelling with journals and diaries. Don’t be critical when it comes to style or content. Writing and having fun doing it needs to be the main focus. There will be plenty of time in the future to address spelling and grammar.