Ready to Read

Reinforce School Skills

Once your kid starts to recognize a handful of words, it won't be long until he's actually reading simple sen?tences. Do these fun activities together to boost his confidence with word recognition and decoding.

Play games. Select books such as Hop on Pop, Ducks Go Vroom, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, or Silly Sally with predictable text-rhyming stories, repetitive lines, and simple, easy-to-recognize words. After reading a great story, play "I spy" with words in the book, suggests Kathleen Shoop, Ph.D., a reading and writing coach in Pittsburgh. Say something like: "I spy a word that begins with the 'D' sound (as in 'dog') or "I spy a word that says 'ooooh' in the middle (as in 'food')."

Rely on memory. Reading a simple book from the Fly Guy or Piggy & Elephant series to your kid over and over again may seem boring. But there's a point to it: Eventually, he'll memorize the text and be able to "read" it to you. "When children memorize text, they are learning about language structure, plus it also helps build confidence and adds new words to their growing vocabulary," says Taylor. At this point, you can start to help your child with tracking -- showing him how to point to the words on the page as he says them aloud.

Collect words. In school, your kid will work on "sight words," ones he should immediately recognize by looking at them rather than sounding them out. Some common sight words for kindergartners include: are, the, they, she, is, was, go, went, my, that, and who. As your child's class learns sight words, chances are the teacher will post them on a "word wall" near the blackboard. Do something similar at home. "Children gain a sense of achievement when they see the words they know accumulate in a notebook or on the refrigerator," says Taylor.

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