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Four ways families can build literacy skills together

Talk, Read, Sing, Play everyday! This key message comes from TLP’s Welcome to Kindergarten program. As we celebrate Family Literacy Month, what a great time to think about the many ways families can have fun together while supporting the development of literacy skills in their young children.

Parents are their child’s first and most important teachers. Reading daily to young children helps them acquire language and literacy skills. When parents enjoy stories and books with their children, they are helping to pave the pathway for their child’s future success. “Reading to children and with children is a very joyous event and a way of fostering a relationship, as well as [helping] language development”
(from 16 Benefits of Reading to Your Child).

Learning to read is one of the most important gifts we can give our children. Here are some ways families can build literacy skills together:
  1. Read to and with your child every day - all family members can help with this. When we read to young children, they are more likely to love reading and to be good readers when they are older. The Welcome to Kindergarten Calendar is filled with fun reading activities - check out the month of February in particular.
  2. Talk with your child - talking and listening supports vocabulary and language. Put simply, talk is the foundation of literacy.
  3. Enjoy stories and books together and encourage your child to explain their thinking, ask questions, or offer their opinions. Welcome to Kindergarten bags contain several stories and suggested reading activities for children to enjoy together.  As Dr. Seuss says: “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go”  (from I Can Read with My Eyes Shut! 1978)
  4. Make reading fun! Reading should be joyful and playful. Consider reading a wide variety of books that may pique a child’s interest, including poems, songs, non-fiction texts, and magazines with a science or nature focus, such as Chirp magazine, or visit your local library and explore the world of reading together.
“One of my favorite times of day is reading to my girls at bedtime. We snuggle into my bed and become immersed in the land of princesses, horse adventures, friendship and love.” 
A Parent of young children.

Wendy Goulden is a program manager for Welcome to Kindergarten and currently teaches at Conestoga College and Wilfrid Laurier University.  Prior to working with The Learning Partnership, Wendy was a consultant and coordinator of programs at the Waterloo Region District School Board. Welcome to Kindergarten engages children, parents and caregivers, schools and communities to make early learning a priority at home and prepare children for school. The program provides parents and caregivers with early learning and literacy resources, and game-based activities that can be done at home to prepare children for success at school.  Welcome to Kindergarten is generously supported by TD Bank Group and other partners across Canada.