Before any child can even attempt to read, they need various basic skills which will stay with them throughout their reading career! Some of these skills come naturally through every day life. They hear and use words themselves, they have seen books and heard teachers or parents read from them, they have enjoyed the thrill or comedy of a good book etc. But there are also things you can do as a parent or carer to help your child come even close to that magical day when they pick up a book, and read it for themselves!
1. Read, read and then pick up another book and read!
2. Practice rhyming words.
3. Recognition and Matching.
5. Use words.
An ice cream cone full of lovely swirly ice cream can be an expensive treat for little ones when you are out, so why not save the money, invest in some treats and serve unique ice creams at home instead!
Get some ice cream cones and simple vanilla ice cream. Invite the children to use a spoon to ease out some ice cream and mash it down into the cone.
Put a selection of the following in some little dishes and let the children create!
Invite your little ones to be creative... look into the dishes and describe the shape and colour of what they see. Pink and yellow strands, brown round buttons etc. You could let them taste each one too and ask what it tastes like? Then, let them loose to decorate their ice creams
This activity is learning new words (as well as enjoying a tasty treat!) so for each bowl use and encourage words to describe what you are doing. "Sprinkle" the coloured sprinkles; "pop in" the chocolate buttons; "dip" in the fruit drops; "place" the berries; "dollop" the sauce etc.
Talk about the texture of the ice cream and the taste of the toppings. Use lovely descriptive words that describe the what your doing in a new and fun way.
Many children stutter - it occurs when a child cannot articulate a word without repeating it over and over, or indeed repeating the first letter over and over before getting through the whole word. It is something they cannot appear to control or seem to overcome and is a common issue. Stutters may start young or seem to develop over time.
One form of stutter is known as Normal Disluency. This occurs around 2-6 years old. Most cases actually disappear by teenage years without any intervention at all. Sometimes it is just a stage or a trick the child is trying out to see what response they get. It is common and quite normal.
Why Does It Happen?
You may find that is stressful situations the stuttering gets worse, it be be worse after a big event such as the birth of a new sibling, moving house or school and is generally worse in boys. Children may have restricted vocabulary because they are nervous about trying new words so will keep to what they know.
If the stuttering last more than a 6 months or so, go to the doctor or health visitor for some advice. They may suggest a hearing and speech test. You may also be recommended to try speech therapy. This will help teach the child different ways to articulate and techniques to overcome any problems with word formation. Or counseling may be advised to help the child with any anxiety they may have or fears.
Help you can offer yourself:
Toddlers may be too young to be able to play word games, but as soon as they start talking, you can play sound games based on word games that older children enjoy! Here are some fun ideas:-
These games are great to play when you have to pass time, perhaps when you are waiting at the doctor's or dentist's, on a car journey, or queuing at the supermarket.
Parents, grandparents, celebrities and people from all walks of life have chosen to adopt a word in order to support the charity I CAN the children’s communication charity.
Some celebrity choices are shown below:
I CAN promotes and supports parents and teachers, and indeed children, with communication. They claim that one in ten children has a communication difficulty and they try to help. Communication is so important because it impacts on all aspects of a child’s life. Apart from academic issues (reading and writing, passing exams etc.) there is also the fundamental issues like making friends, playing, reading etc. where communication is vital.
Why not adopt a word too and lay claim to a piece of our language for a whole year?! Go to the Adopt a Word website for more information.
There are lots of ways to liven up story time, both for you and your little one! Try some of these tips!
It has been proven, by a study carried out in Canada, that children can understand the concept of irony by the age of four - even if they don't know the word and probably struggle to say it! Previously it had been suggested that the children needed to be aged ten before they could understand the idea of sarcasm and irony but this new study published in the British Journal of Developmental Psychology contradicts this.
The study looked at different types of language that is described as "non-literal". Here are a few examples:
The researchers at Montreal University studied 39 children in a home environment and found that irony was understood by children aged 4 and that by the age of 6 the children had a complete grasp of non-literal language. Previous studies had focused primarily on sarcasm, and had been carried out in a test environment rather than a home environment so this partly explains why the findings were different to other tests.
Babbling is not just a load of nonsensical rubbish that babies produce, it is actually an important part of verbal development and without it talking would just never happen. Most baby's develop at a similar rate and you can spot the changes as follows:-
How to get your little one talking
By interacting with your baby, you can encourage your baby to learn to talk and to learn words and their meanings:-
For many children, speech comes naturally - they babble sounds and copy words spoken to them, then they start saying a few words on their own and before you know it they are speaking in sentences and chatting to anyone who will listen.
However, sometimes they stumble over consonants and make errors especially if they get excited or are constructing a long sentence. They ask for some "ninner" rather than "dinner" or say "wellow" rather than "yellow". But this is perfectly normal. There is nothing to worry about .
For many, it is simply that they don't have the muscle co-ordination to enunciate properly. Or it may be a new word that they need to practice. Or they are just trying out a new sound. In each case, try not to make an issue of it. Just repeat the word back to the correctly. Do you want some Dinner? The ball is Yellow, isn't it.
Between 18 months and about 3, it is natural that toddlers will make mistakes. They are exploring new word sounds and beginning to remember which letter sounds make up which words. They may even correct themselves if a word doesn't sound right.
Once they hit three, most of their words should be perfectly understandable, with a few errors here and there.
If however your child seems not to talk much, or even never,then you should consult a GP just to ensure everything is OK.
If they are still making frequent errors by age six, you may wish to ask you GP about it, just to be sure. Speech problems, may hide a hearing problem or indeed a learning issue that a doctor can help with. A speech therapist can offer exercises and game sto help with muscle control and speech formation.
Rhyming words can be great fun for children - they make the words they say, and new words they learn, sound happy and sing-song! The easiest words to rhyme are short words of one syllable, words like pig, dig; fat, cat, far car, see, me.
How to introduce rhyming games:
Nursery Rhymes - Get hold of some nursery rhyme books and have some fun learning and acting them out. Dress up as the characters and act the words.
Make up your own rhymes - Change the words to existing rhymes to make them your own. Add in the name of your child if you can as that will be very exciting for them!
Find a Rhyme - Find things that rhyme. So, hold a block and go find a clock. Hold a pen and find a picture of a hen!
Word Catch - Think of a word: 'go' for example. Throw or roll a ball to each other and as you get the ball, you have to say a word that rhymes with the first word. Go, so, throw, row, tow, bow etc. See how far you can go,then change the word.
Word swap - purposely swap words around that rhyme and try to guess the proper word. So, say something like, I am hungry; I need my 'bunch'. And, try and get your little one to guess you mean 'lunch'!
Once pre-schoolers get interested in letters and sounds and writing, there is so much you can do to encourage them and inspire them to really enjoy the idea of writing and learning about words. Here are a few easy ideas to introduce words into their everyday life.
Reading to your little ones is such an important activity, but the youngest children will only pick out sounds that they are beginning to understand as words. The act of reading to them allows them to hear words over and over and slowly they will begin to distinguish the different words. In time, they will learn their meaning. In no time at all you'll have a preschooler who has a broad vocabulary, understanding thousands of words.
To encourage hearing and learning words, you can make reading fun by asking questions at the end of each page as you read to them. Read each page to your children and then ask them questions specific to what is happening in the pictures or the story. If you are reading to several children then make sure they all get a turn, and ask questions appropriate to their age and understanding. Your children will begin to widen their vocabulary, hearing the words repeated in a similar context. Make sure that even the youngest are asked their own question, even if it is as simple as 'Where is the sky?', 'Point to something that is red', or 'What animal goes [suitable animal noise]?!'.
Reading to your little ones is one of the most valuable exercises you can undertake during their first few years. Encourage a passion for reading and books and their learning will become so much easier later on. The more you can create an interest in books by making stories interesting and fun, then the better in the longer term for your little ones!
We all know how important reading is for children and that reading to even the tiniest toddler will help them in so many ways, but it can be frustrating if you find that your child loses interest after a little while or simply won't settle when you are ready to read a book.
The first thing to remember, is that this is not unusual. Every child is different and while some love the idea of a book, the pictures, the page turning the flaps etc, others are not interested. They don't want to lift flaps or look at the pictures. They consider reading a book as something passive, they sit back and listen and perhaps fall asleep rather than get involved. Or, they will just lose interest and walk away. The answer is not to force them to sit, be still and listen. It is our job to inspire them.
There are lots of activities you can do with your child to introduce them to reading, that don't necessarily involve learning to read in the traditional sense. Here are some tips to make learning to read an easy, fun and inspiring time for both you and your children!
Most importantly, have fun when reading with your child. Don't get annoyed if they don't understand immediately or struggle on words they knew yesterday. Certainly don't force them to read or make them do it if they're tired or not in the right mood.
Enjoy... learning to read can be so much fun and they will make you so proud when they try hard and make progress.
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