What reading experts say:
The two most powerful predictors of reading success are phonological awareness and letter-name knowledge (recognizing and naming the letters of the alphabet), according to the Center for the Improvement of Early Reading Achievement at the University of Michigan. Studies by Bryant, Bradley, McLean and Crossland show a strong relationship between rhyming ability at ages three and four and performance in reading and spelling at ages six and seven.
"Once children become adept at noticing the ends of words (called rimes which is easy to remember because that is the part that rhymes), they begin to get the idea that the beginnings of words (called onsets) can sound alike as well," say Linda Rath and Louise Kennedy authors of The Between the Lions Book for Parents: Everything You Need to Know to Help Your Child Learn to Read
"Rhymes and alliteration make a listener aware of the individual sounds of language in ways that ordinary conversation cannot. The tongue twister quality of the text causes the reader to slow down in order to enunciate clearly the words," says Judith Schickendanz, author of Much More Than the ABCs: The Early Stages of Reading and Writing
What good readers know:
Good readers can identify words that have the same first sounds (peas, potatoes, pasta), can create their own fun tongue twisters and enjoy books that feature rhymes and alliteration.
What parents can do to help children Grow Up Reading™:
Talk about odd and even numbers. Mark all the odd numbers on January's calendar with an "O" and mark all the even numbers with an "E."
Go to the Main Library and try the writing activities in the Youth Services portal entrance. Be sure to pick up a copy of the winter youth program brochure.
Read five books from the "Writing" booklist.
Write a thank you note together. Help your child write words, draw pictures and sign the note.
More Great Books to Read(click on a title to check for availability at the Library)
- Make a sensory alphabet to practice letter recognition and fine motor skills. Write one letter of the alphabet per index card. Using glue and a popsicle stick, have your child trace each letter with glue. Ask him to say the letter and its sound as you go. Sprinkle sand over the glue and set aside to dry. Your child can practice tracing each letter with his finger, feeling their shapes and making important connections.
- Make a name puzzle. Write your child's name in bold letters on a sheet of paper. Using a different color, write the name a second time and cut the letters apart. Scramble the letters. Ask your child to arrange them in the correct order to spell her name, using the first sheet as a guide. After practicing, do this without the guide sheet. Try this activity with other words. It will help your child understand that letters can be combined to spell words.
- Help your child become an author and illustrator by creating a book. Fold several pieces of paper and staple the fold. As your child tells you a story, write it down. Your child can illustrate each page and then read you the story!