Doing More With Less Since 1972

Tag: vocabulary (Page 2 of 2)

Nine Months Old and Learning to Read!

Ok, I’m sure you don’t believe me, but it’s true…just let me explain.

Our nine month old is learning to read already. She can’t read yet, and she probably won’t be able to read for years, but she’s already learning how. She’s learning because we started building her reading foundation months ago by doing a few simple things. At our house, we call it “reading with a purpose.”

Like most kids, Chick Pea has a favorite book. For her, that book is Marcos Counts. We read this book to her at least six or seven times a day. At times it’s the only way I can get her to calm down while Mom cooks or writes. We’re very fortunate that she shows an interest and loves everything about books, whether it’s listening to us read, looking at the pictures, or eating them. But every time we read this book with her, we read with purpose. Just a few simple things make all the difference (we hope) in helping her catch on to the idea of reading long before she has the ability to really read. Here are a few techniques you can use with babies and toddlers:

Repeated Readings
If you’re like us, you don’t have much of a choice in this one. Small children love repetition and pretty much force you to read the same book over and over. But these repeated readings help them build vocabulary and fluency early on.

Tracking the words in the book
Even though you’ve memorized the text from repeated readings, tracking the words with your finger as you go along helps them make the connection that the scribbles you are pointing at with your finger (text) have some meaning and are related to what you are saying. Resist the urge to recite the words and turn the pages on queue.

Let your child turn the pages
With repeated readings, you child will learn pretty quickly when the page needs to be turned, and they’ll be anxious to do it to get to next part of the story. Along with tracking, which will be paused while waiting for the page to turn, kids quickly figure out that the story needs the next page to continue. In our case, she’s figured out that pages need to be turned, but her timing’s a little off. That’s ok too–it’s good practice.

Look at the book while you read
Again, this may be tough to remember to do because you’ll have the story memorized pretty quickly, but directing your attention to the pages and text gives your child a visual cue that the information is coming from the book, not from you. You can expand this using tracking by pointing at the pictures in the book and talking about them. For instance, Marcos Counts objects, but the book never mentions what those objects are in the text. We always point out what Marcos is counting on each page (ducks, cars, crayons, etc.) to help her learn to identify these objects.

HAVE FUN!!!
This is the main purpose of our reading sessions. The single most important thing you can do to instill a love of reading in your child is to make it fun. Don’t force a reading time on your small child, and don’t chase them around insisting that they listen to the story. Even though it’s her absolute favorite book, Chick Pea often crawls away 3 pages in to Marcos Counts to go inspect a wooden block or chase a cat out of the room, and that’s ok. I usually just sit quietly and read silently to myself to find out what happens at the end of the story. 🙂

Vocabulary

Words, words, words! The more words your child knows, the better reader he or she will become. The great news is that you don’t have to wait until your child is of reading age to start building the vocabulary they will need in order to be great readers. This is because there are four different kinds of vocabulary that we use in our lives: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Studies show that children with larger listening and speaking vocabularies experience greater comprehension, therefore success as readers than children with a more limited listening and speaking word bank. This is because a child can know the meanings of thousands of words without having to know what they look like or how to spell them. Once they know the meaning of a word or a concept, they can just attach that knowledge to the visual representations (the words) later on as they are exposed to them in reading and writing. This large listening/speaking word bank helps them be more efficient readers because they don’t have to spend time learning to read the word and the meaning, they just have to learn to attach a known meaning to a new word.
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Rhyme Toss – Lesson Idea #13

You can play this with 2 or more people, but the more the better. So get some friends, siblings, or dad involved and have fun!

  1. Sit or stand with players in a circle and have something ready to toss (bean bag, ball, etc.)
  2. Say a word like “cat”, and toss the bag to the next person who has to say a word that rhymes like “hat”, then toss to the next person and so on. Switch to a new word when players run out.
  3. Sample word lists you can use: (ball, wall, tall, hall, mall, call, fall, all); ( blue, shoe, two, new, who, boo, flew, drew, etc.); (pit, bit, hit, fit, lit, mitt, sit, kit), etc.
  • You can make this more challenging for older kids by making the words harder. Sample words: (plate, eight, freight, berate, date, mate, bait, gate, hate, etc.).

Spell Anything! – Lesson Idea #11

  1. Write a word on a white board or other erasable surface and have your child read it aloud.
  2. Erase and change the first letter/last letter/middle letter – depending on what letters/sounds you are working with. Ask your child what the new word is.
  3. Repeat and repeat until you have a decent list of new words that you created just by changing certain letters.
  4. Have your child read the whole list – blending if necessary and then repeating them quickly to practice fluency. You can extend this activity by having them make up sentences using some or all of the words.
  5. Sample list:
  • start with the word “cup”
  • change the “p” to a “t” for the word “cut”
  • change the ” u” to an “a” for the word “cat”
  • change the “c” to an “h” for the word “hat
  • change the “h” to an “m” for the word “mat”
  • change the “m” to an “f” for the word “fat”
  • add an “s” to make the word “fast”
  • You can see how you can keep going and going with this. You can make this as easy or as hard as you’d like depending on what your child can do. Have fun with it!

Stretch It – Lesson Idea #10

  1. Tell your child that you are going to say a sentence and that they have to help you stretch it by adding a word to it to make it longer.
  2. Then you add another word and continue to take turns adding words until you have a long sentence (that still makes sense).
  3. For example: You say ” The kitten played.” Then it can become ” The white kitten played”, “The white kitten played outside.”, “The white kitten played outside with a ball.”, “The white kitten and the dog played outside with a ball.”, etc.
  • This game can be adapted for many different ages. You can leave it like it is for younger kids (and keep the sentences shorter) or you can add some requirements to make it harder for older kids. Add things like: “Now you have to add a noun, adjective, pronoun, adverb, etc.” or you can have them write out the sentence when finished. this is a great game for developing vocabulary and practicing extending sentences so that they are more detailed!

Word Switch – Lesson Idea #3

You’ll need a pocket chart and some word cards (you can make them with sentence strips) for this activity.

  1. Make or use some words cards to make up a few sentences from a book, rhyme, or song that your child is familiar with. Make sure to include capitals and punctuations.
  2. Read the sentences aloud to your child (or together if they can read with you). Then mix up the words in each sentence and read them aloud again.
  3. Your child will most likely start giggling and tell you there’s something wrong. Act surprise and like you don’t know what’s wrong. When they convince you that there’s a problem, ask your child to help you make the sentences right again. They can use the capital letter and the punctuation mark as hints.
  • You can skip the materials if you don’t have them and use a white board instead. Although kids really enjoy holding and manipulating the word cards – especially if they can’t write yet. The purpose here is to show your child that each word has meaning and that they work together to make sentences. If you move one or all of them around, it will affect how the sentence makes sense.
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