Reading and writing are essential skills for your child's academic success, but as any parent knows, getting a child to love the written word isn't always easy. The good news is that engaging your child in a few at-home activities can increase her vocabulary, expand her grasp of phonics, and improve both her reading comprehension and her expressive writing skills.
Keeping a daily journal is a good way for your school-age child to express himself, discuss issues and discover the world around him. JournalBuddy.com recommends giving your child writing prompts to help him get started. Give your child a journal or notebook and begin daily or weekly journal entries at home. Motivate him to be creative by encouraging him to write about an imaginary character or event that he wished he had come across that day. At other times ask your child to write about something good that happened to him that day or someone interesting he interacted with that week.
World of Words
"World of Words" is a reading and writing activity recommended by Reading Rockets, a division of the U.S. Department of Eduction. It helps to increase your child's vocabulary and enrich him with diverse cultures. You and your child can do this simple activity on a daily or weekly basis. Have your child choose a photo of a landscape, market, village, city or other scene from a newspaper or magazine. Cut out the picture and write three or four words that describe the picture and explain to your child what they mean. Then have him rewrite the words on separate pieces of paper or directly on the picture to label it. A dessert scene might have words such as "camel," "caravan," and "nomad." Hang the labeled picture on a bulletin board or on the fridge so your child can review it with you later that day or week.
For children learning to read and write involves sounding out the words carefully. They must learn to connect spoken language sounds with the letters of written language. Oxford Owl notes that this can be challenging because there are 44 phonetic sounds made up by the 26 letters of the alphabet. A fun way to help your child recognize the different sounds of some letters in words is a phonics version of the game "I spy." To play this, write out several words that use the same letters that have different sounds, such as "can" and "convince." Then say "I spy the sound ssss" and ask your child to show you which word has this phonetic sound.
Discussing family stories with your child also helps give him a healthy sense of identity and belonging and strengthen the bond between parent and child. Use a family photo to tell your child a short story or as the basis for a description of a family member or a special day, such as a graduation, wedding, birthday party or holiday. Then help your child write out the story and relate it back to you and to his other siblings or family members.