In our last blog we introduced a resource aimed at teaching our children to read and write through various ways. These tips can sometimes be unconventional and may seem like they don’t have any correlation to learning to read and write. However, the brain is a miraculous organ that learns in many different and unique ways! Without further ado, here are six more tips from 101 Ways to Help Your Child Learn to Read & Write by Mary and Richard Behm!
Success in School
If you have been following our blog for a while, you may have noticed that we are very interested in School Success and what we, as parents, can do to assist our children in this endeavor. There are numerous tips, tricks and ways to accomplish school success, but here are a few we may not have talked about before!
Bring Home the Books!
We should encourage our children to bring home their books from school, especially the ones they are required to read in class. This will not only jump-start a conversation about what they are learning or reading in school, but it also demonstrates our interest in what our children are reading. By having them read a section to us, or discuss what they like and dislike, we are encouraging them to think critically about what they are reading. The ability to discuss their own opinions on what they are reading also gives them a better insight and understanding of the materials they are interacting with on a regular.
Make Time for Homework
When we have something important to do, we often procrastinate or avoid it until it is absolutely necessary to get it done. Children are no exception to this, which is why it is important to make the time for our children to sit quietly and work on what homework they may have, or to simply sit and read quietly. Making this time a pleasurable experience is critical! Learning should always be encouraged and, if at all possible, made enjoyable! Parents can invest this time with their children as a way of learning and struggling together to get the work done. This demonstrates to our children that we are in this together and that they can trust us to be present and helpful.
During the day, while we are at work, or while the children are at school, it may be that we see or hear something that makes us think about them. When this happens, we should write down what we were thinking and encourage our children to do the same, then compare those notes when we are together again. For example, “Today, I saw a red bird outside the office window. It made me think of you and what you might be seeing outside the school windows.” We can use notes to start conversations and let our children know that we are thinking about them throughout the day.
Bedtime (along with doctor visits and sometimes, bath time) is an oft-resisted ritual. Children worry they might miss out on something. How can they sleep when there is so much going on? For this reason, it is important to establish rituals to prepare our children for sleep. Rituals create expectations, structure and a feeling of security for our children, so that even if their day is not going well, they have something they can look forward to or hang on to.
The idea of bedtime stories is not new. Many people already read stories to their children before bed. However, wouldn’t it be interesting to flip the script? Instead of reading the bedtime story, we are read to! Reading aloud is important to pronunciation and vocabulary retention. Encouraging our children to read to us at bedtime helps them better understand their language and allows them some control over bedtime.
As we grow up, our memories sometimes fade and we forget simple moments with our parents. In the same way that our school skills become duller over summer break, our memories become less clear when we are not actively talking about them. An easy way to sharpen our memories is to keep a diary or journal. As we grow older, journaling can fall by the wayside, but if it is established in early years the habit is hard to break. At bedtime, we can set aside some time to write down the events of the day with our children. By doing so we can create a written record of happy times, or even sad moments that we learned from, and we are creating a conversation between ourselves and our children. This gives them a moment to talk about the things that happened in their day, what in their day mattered to them, and what they are really looking forward to for the next day.
Talk about Dreams
Dreams are a window into our consciousness. While Freud’s dream interpretation has been mostly debunked, there is something to be said about what our dreams say about our waking life. Over breakfast in the morning, we can start a conversation with our children about their dreams. Were they good dreams? What do we think they mean? We can share our dreams as well, especially if they are silly. Discussing the meaning behind what our brain is telling us through dreams gives us an opportunity to be introspective and to think critically. Dream journaling is another excellent habit to develop in early childhood because it gives us an opportunity to develop a trust and understanding of who we are and what things negatively and positively affect our dreams.
Interested in more ways to help your child with reading and writing? Check out this week’s resource through the Amazon link below!
For our next post we will be returning to the topic of technology and our children. We hope to shed some light on potential hazards when texting, what smartphone apps to be wary of, and how we can continue to keep our children safe in a technological world! As always, we look forward to reading your comments and suggestions!