In this time of pandemic, many parents are worried about the risk of their kids falling behind academically. And they are absolutely right. School access has varied and often diminished across different countries and a lot of families want or have to play a bigger role in their kids' education.
In fact, teaching a child to read is not so difficult and there are useful and simple measures to take to develop a positive relationship in this domain. Here are 10 ways to boost your kids' language skills, whether in-person, at home, online, or outside.
1. Read with your kids This is probably the best way to develop a child's language abilities. A lot of research has shown that kids who are read to by their parents or caregivers or teachers have a larger vocabulary and higher early literacy skills in general. Reading with your kids every day can have a considerable impact on their language abilities.
2. Teach your kids rhymes and songs Nursery rhymes play an important role in early literacy. They help your kids understand the patterns of language as well as the sounds and blends, the building blocks of words and phrases.
3. Model your kids' reading behavior Be your kids' role models in reading profusely at home. Take the good habit to turn off distractions like television and phones, and instead start to read real books. So your kids will see first hand how to incorporate reading in their daily lives.
4. Turn on the captions on videos, movies and television Reading is not reserved to books. Promote literacy with your kids by turning on the captions whenever possible. It will help them make the connection between words' hearing and words' reading.
5. Talk as often and as much as possible with your kids This is another excellent way to increase your children's vocabulary and to limit the famous "word gap" - the difference in vocabulary between kids who start formal school. Research has revealed that kids who share regular conversations with adults have a larger vocabulary. Moreover, don't hesitate to use new or complicated words when talking to your kids; it will help them greatly.
6. Practice storytelling without limitation with your kids An efficient way to promote literacy at home is to tell stories to your kids, and to encourage themselves to tell stories. As many stories as possible.
7. Read nonfiction to raise better readers Surprisingly, many adults avoid sharing nonfiction with young kids, under the assumption that such topics and texts are too hard for those little minds. However, building a solid knowledge foundation about science, culture, and history, is among the best things parents can do in their children's education.
8. Play word (and other) games with your kids With young kids, word games can be informal, just like naming any word rhyming with another. These kinds of games can be played anywhere and at any time, at home, in the car, in the park. There are also many fun and educational board games that can strongly help literacy building for kids of all ages.
9. Make reading very easy for your kids The lower the barriers to reading, the wiser. Make sure a mixture of familiar and new books are available at home, in the living room, in the bedroom, and even in the car.
10. Encourage all forms of reading to your kids
Don't neglect certain kinds of reading. Any form of reading - comics, picture books, graphic novels, or audiobooks - are all useful for reading, regardless of your child's age, maturity, experience, level, and skills. The more you and your kids will read, the better!
Picture: Portrait of Jean and Geneviève Caillebotte, by Pierre-Auguste Renoir (Wikimedia Commons, w/Effects)