School and tuition is very important for aiding your child’s language skills, but it’s not the only setting where your children can learn. Our team of Reading Specialists at I Can Read have some helpful suggestions for motivating your children and helping them develop their language skills at home.
1. Rhyme with your child.
Our absolute top suggestion for you is to read Dr. Seuss books with your kids. Green Eggs & Ham is an excellent place to start. The silly stories and fun use of language will keep them laughing and fully engaged. Read the stories in all manner of voices, don’t be afraid to mix it up. You can read in a whispered voice, funny voice, silly voice – whatever you know will appeal to your child.
2. Clap syllables with your child.
This is something we do to great effect in the I Can Read classroom. Clap and then ask your child to count the syllables in each word (suggested for Pre-Reading 2 Level and above). When your child brings home any new vocabulary from school –you can clap out the words with them to show syllables. “Hap-py” has two syllables, “Bro-ther” has two, and “Mum” has one. They’ll soon start to count the syllables quite naturally and it’ll help build that all important foundation for reading.
3. Watch cartoons and songs in English, without the subtitles
Children love learning through songs and videos. This is an activity they will get involved with without too much resistance. There are endless videos online and playlists to interest almost any child. Pick topics you know will particularly appeal to your own child. Try Spotify or YouTube.
4. Same or different game
Children at I Can Read are taught to recognise the first sounds of words. For this game, you can say three to five words – all but one will start with the same sound. For example, you can say: “Potato, paper, pumpkin, bottle.” Which word starts with a different sound? Once a child has mastered this game, you can play with the last sound. For example, you can say: “Cat, fat, chair.” Which word ends with a different sound?
5. Encourage your child to use full sentences.
This is something that we put a large emphasis on in the I Can Read Classroom. Ask your child “What colour is the table?”. The desired answer is of course “The table is brown.” This type of exercise needs a little encouragement as it takes extra effort on behalf of the little learner but once they get into this very good habit they should stick to it – with some extra encouragement from mum and dad of course.
All of these are fairly simple activities with big results. As is usually the case, if you start small and build your way up you’ll see a big difference as they grow. It will also make their transition into older classes with higher expectations and more sophisticated vocabulary all the easier.
Happy Home Learning!
I Can Read Singapore