- Jessica Anne Carter
Turning the Page on Summer
September means the start of school, cooler days, and the fast march into autumn and the spooky season. But it also means that children of all ages will be doing something a lot more frequently: reading. Whether they read for personal enjoyment or are just reading textbooks and assignment instructions in class, reading is an essential tool in every student’s toolbox. September is also the month that includes International Literacy Day, which reminds us all how important literacy is to human rights and dignity around the world.
To celebrate International Literacy Day and encourage more active reading, we’ve put together a list of techniques and books to help your child improve their reading skills.
1. Start with the building blocks.
Reading begins with a simple set of 26 letters. Young children start to read better when they begin to recognize letters and sounds on sight. Just taking a few moments to point to each letter in a word and sound it out can improve your child’s reading skills. Quiz a few minutes a day with our Alphabet or Phonics Learning Flash Cards. Then, look for those letters and sounds in every day items like on cereal boxes, toys, TV shows, or even fridge magnets.
2. Click things into place piece by piece.
A fun way to help your child start assembling words is to, well, assemble them with the Match It! Puzzles. Start recognizing words and letter sounds with the Match It! ABC's 26-Piece Puzzle Cards, where your child will read and match words to reference images. Take a step up in difficulty with the Match It! Puzzle - Letters. Your child can click d-o-g together to spell “dog”, and many other words. These puzzles help children build words with self-correcting pieces and fun reference images. You can also make your own puzzles with cue cards, or help your child break down larger words into syllables and sound out the letter sounds. By connecting letter sounds and simple words, your child will grow their vocabulary while having fun.
3. Make reading a part of your routine.
A great way to work reading into your daily routine is reading before bedtime. Reading aloud helps children connect the way a word is spelled with how it sounds, increasing their sight reading and pronunciation skills. Start young readers with fun and soothing books like Good Morning, Good Night: A Touch & Feel Bedtime Book by Annie Alexander and Melanie Mitchell. The tactile fur adds an interactive element to keep children engaged, and the rhyming story will help children practise letter sounds and word families. Plus, it’s a great sleepy-time book to send your child off into sweet dreams. Start by reading to your child, short storybooks or a few pages of a longer book each night. Then, ask your child to read along with you. Point to significant words like nouns and verbs, and help them sound out longer, more complex words. Eventually your child will be reading on their own!
4. Find books on topics that interest your child.
The hardest part of getting your child interested in reading is finding something they will connect and engage with. Look for storybooks and activity books that play to your child’s interests, whether that’s dinosaurs, princesses, outer space, or anything under the sun. You can also find books like Potty Time! Coloring and Activity Book Sesame Street – Elmo, which teach children important life skills while they have fun.
5. Talk to your child about what they are reading.
After your child reads a book or a chapter of a larger book, ask them to tell you about what they read. What was the main idea? What was something new they learned? Having your child reflect on their reading will make them think about what they are reading and connect words to ideas. Your child can read about inspiring writers such as Maya Angelou and Jane Austen with the Little People, BIG DREAMS series. These child-friendly nonfiction picture books provide excellent reading practice while informing children about remarkable people throughout history and the world.
Find a combination of storybooks and nonfiction books to help your child work on reading comprehension and differentiating fact vs. fiction. Go to your local library or bookstore and let your child choose a book that interests them. Reread books your child enjoys and follow along with your finger as they read the book aloud to you. Repetition, reading aloud, and recognizing sight words like “of”, “to”, and “and” will help your child gain reading confidence.
6. Reward your child’s reading progress.
Don’t we all love a reward? Something that helps us feel proud of our accomplishments and recognize our progress. Reading rewards encourage children to keep making progress and motivate them to reach for their next goal. These rewards can be anything you deem appropriate for your child, from extra screen time or a tasty treat to reward stickers or points towards a new book or toy. Even something as simple as praise can keep your child motivated to read.
However you make reading a priority, you help your child gain confidence and skill that will continue to aid them throughout their life. Remember, your best reading advocate is yourself! Reading with your child
shows them how important reading is and helps them remain engaged.
7. Read everywhere you go.
Reading isn’t limited to books. Everywhere we go, there’s always new things to read. Try having your child reading street signs, transit posters, billboards, grocery store flyers, and other advertisements. Discuss with them who each sign is meant for and what the words mean. Take our Word Search Activity Workbook with you on the go and let your child entertain themselves by finding common words. Point out words on menus or street signs and have your child read them aloud.
Literacy Day means improving literacy across many languages, including French! Help your child improve their French vocabulary and reading skills with our My First French-English Illustrated Workbook and Préparation à la lecture workbooks for Pre-K to Grade 1. These workbooks support the French reading curriculum, whether your child already speaks French or is taking their first step on the path to bilingualism. With bright illustrations and fun learning activities, these workbooks are très magnifique!
October ushers in the spooky season, so we’ll have some fun Halloween crafts along with some media literacy tips and a special promotion for World Teachers’ Day!
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