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Learning Activities for Home
Build Words. Using magnetic letters, make a three letter word on the refrigerator (cat). Have your child read the word and use it in a sentence. Every day, change one letter to make a new word.
Write letters on pieces of paper and put them in a paper bag. Let your child reach into the bag and take out letters. Have your child say the sounds that match the letters.
Take egg cartons and put a paper letter in each slot until you have all the letters of the alphabet in order. Say letter-sounds and ask your child to pick out the letters that match those sounds.
Make a list. Encourage your child to help you make your grocery shopping list. Ask what letters or symbols go with the sounds of the words you are putting on your list.
Encourage your child to help you create a menu when guests come for dinner.
Preview words. Before reading to or with your child, scan through the book, choose two words that you think might be interesting or unfamiliar to your child. Tell your child what the words are and what they mean.
Play “categories” with your child. Name a topic such as “farms” and ask your child to think of all the words he/she can relate to that topic.
Use a variety of words to describe feelings and emotions. For example, your child says he/she is happy. You can validate that by saying, “I’m so glad you are so joyful today! You sure look happy!”
Echo Reading. Read aloud a line of text. Ask the child to read the same line. Continue taking turns reading and rereading the same lines.
Partner Reading. Partner reading can be used with any book, taking turns reading by sentence, paragraph, page or chapter.
Point out punctuation marks that aid in expression such as ?, !, “ “. Demonstrate how your voice changes as you read for each. Only focus on one during a book.
Jump for sounds. Say a word and have your child jump for each sound in the word while saying the sound.
Orally or with pictures provide pairs of words that rhyme and pairs that do not rhyme (EX: pan/man; pat/boy).
Give your child a small toy car such as a Matchbox car. Write a 3-4 letter word on a piece of paper with the letters spaced apart. Have your child drive the car over each letter saying the letter sound. Have your child begin driving the car slowly over the letters and then drive over them again slightly faster. Continue until the word is said at a good rate.
After reading, ask your child, “What was your favorite part? Show me. Why do you like that part?
Before reading. Point out the title and author. Look at the picture on the cover and ask, “What do you think is going to happen in this story? Why?” This will help your child set a purpose for reading.
During reading. Stop every now and then to ask your child to tell you what has happened so far or what he/she predicts will happen.
After reading. Ask your child to retell the story from the beginning, and ask for opinions, too.
Encourage deeper thinking by asking, “If the story kept going, what do you think would happen next?”
Help your child make connections to his/her life experience while reading. You could say, “Is there anything you read in the story that reminds you of something? The boy who went to the zoo with his family reminds me of when we went to the zoo over the summer. What do you think?”
As you are reading, think out loud to your child. Ask questions such as “I wonder why the boy is crying in the picture? Will he find his lost toy?”
Word collecting. Have each family member be on the look-out for interesting words that they heard that day. At dinner or bedtime, have everyone share the word they collected and tell what they think it means. If the child shares an incorrect meaning, guide him/her to the correct meaning. Try to use some of the words in conversation.
Discuss positional words such as beside, below, under, over, etc. Make it into a game at dinner by asking your child to place his/her fork in different places in relation to his/her plate. Ex: Put your fork above your plate.
Categories. When you read a book, ask your child to identify categories for words he/she has read. Ex: If you read a book about pumpkins you could put the words pumpkin, leaf, stem and seeds into a category about parts of a plant.
Writing personal letters. Turn the playroom into a mail room. You and your child can “address” envelopes, stuff them with drawings, and make deliveries to family members. When children receive and write letters, they realize that printed word has a purpose. Be sure to read aloud the letters with expression, and encourage your child to do the same.
Write a trip journal with your child to create a new family story. Recording the day’s events and pasting the photographs into the journal ties the family story to a written record.
Family stories enrich the relationship between partner and child. Tell your child stories about your parents and grandparents.