In a coronavirus world, many families worry that their children will fall behind academically. School availability varies widely across the country and many families choose to or have to play a much larger role in their children’s education. The basis for this is literacy. Promoting literacy at home can have a huge impact on a child’s learning.

While teaching a child to read can be daunting, there are actually plenty of really easy ways you can foster a positive reading relationship. Here are some simple ways you can improve your child’s reading and writing skills, whether they’re studying in person, virtually, or at home:

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1. Read!

Reading for your child is the best way to help children develop reading and writing skills. Studies from around the world have found that children who have their caregivers read to them see numerous academic benefits. Children who are read have better literacy skills, which makes it easier to learn to read. They also have a larger vocabulary. Simply reading books with your child every day has a huge impact on their reading and writing skills.

2. Teach nursery rhymes and songs

Nursery rhymes aren’t just cute songs that kids love to recite. They play a vital role in language and literacy development. Rhymes help children develop an understanding of the patterns of speech and understand the sounds and mixtures that are the building blocks of words. Teaching and practicing nursery rhymes will be an important foundation for literacy.

3. Model the reading behavior you want to see

If you want to promote literacy at home, model this behavior at home. Take the time to turn off distractions like the TV or your phone and sit down with a good book. This type of modeling is powerful as children grow older and can read independently. You will see how they can incorporate reading into their daily life, even when other activities require their attention.

4. Activate the labels

Reading doesn’t have to be just a book. We all watch online videos, television, and movies. Promote literacy by simply turning on the subtitles. It will help children make a connection between the words they hear and the words they read on the screen. It’s also a great way for them to identify any new vocabulary they hear. The next time you read that word in a text, you are more likely to identify it correctly.

5. Talk to your children

Talking to your children is a great way to expand their vocabulary. Many in education point to a “word gap” or difference in vocabulary between children when they go to school. There are many causes for this loophole, but one thing researchers have found is that children who have regular conversations with adults learn more words. Don’t be afraid to use “big words” when talking to children. You can always explain their meaning, and the more often children hear new words, the more likely they are to get their meaning through context.

6. Practice storytelling

One easy way to promote literacy at home is to encourage your child to tell you stories. This will help them better understand the rhythm of the narrative storytelling, which will benefit them as they grow and read more complex fictions. They can tell you real stories about their life or make up stories and flex their imaginations.

7. Consume non-fiction books to build better readers

Many adults shy away from nonfiction books for small children, believing that the subjects and vocabulary are too complex for small minds. However, building a strong knowledge base is one of the best things you can do for your child. Children with more background knowledge have an easier time learning new concepts. Because you spend so much time reading together at home, you mix up nonfiction books about history, culture, and science. For inspiration, check out this list of picture book biographies of black people or this list of great children’s books about plants.

8. Play word games

For younger children, these games can be informal, like naming a word that rhymes with another word. You can play these types of games anywhere, e.g. B. drive in the car or go for a walk. There are also plenty of fun board games that promote literacy for children of all ages. Some great ones are Zingo, Quiddler, Bananagrams, and Rory’s Story Cubes.

9. Make reading easy for your children

As with any habit, the fewer barriers to reading, the better. Make sure your child has books available wherever they spend the most time. Have books in your bedroom, living room, kitchen, and even in the car. It is also helpful to give your child a mix of familiar and new books. You can buy favorite books for your home collection while regularly checking out new books from the library. Keeping books accessible at all times will encourage your children to read.

10. Encourage all forms of reading

Make sure that you do not accidentally decline certain forms of reading. Visual novels, comics, audio books, and picture books are valid forms of reading regardless of your child’s age and ability. We know the best way to improve your reading and writing skills is to read more. Therefore, families should encourage children to read what they want. Favorite picture books that are long past a child’s “reading level” can provide convenience. Visual novels can keep reluctant readers busy. Audiobooks are an accessible way to access the same content as a physical book. Trust your child to read grade level materials in school and really let reading at home be their choice.