Counting The Days 'Til Kindergarten
Preparing For Reading Success


What reading experts say:

Reading books to children is a much more effective way to build vocabulary than family conversations or speech heard on TV or videos. Typically, an adult will only use nine 'rare' words per 1,000 words when speaking to a child under age five. There are three times as many of these less common words found in children's books than in everyday speech. When you read to your child, he or she hears more new words and develops a larger vocabulary more quickly. Hayes, D. and Ahrens, M. Vocabulary Simplification for Children: A Special Case of 'Motherese', Journal of Child Language.

"Rephrase and extend your child's words, ask a clarifying question (tell me more about the man you saw), model more complex vocabulary or sentence structure (yes, I see the tall skyscraper you built with lots of windows), and ask open-ended questions," says Susan Hall and Louisa Moats of Straight Talk About Reading.

What good readers know:

Good readers have a diverse vocabulary. They ask questions when they are unclear about what a word means, they use the context of a conversation or the action in a book to decipher the meaning of unfamiliar words and they use varied vocabulary in referring to familiar objects (this bird is big, but this elephant is gigantic).

What parents can do to help children Grow Up Reading™:
Week 1:
Read a rhyming book from the "Singing" booklist. Say or sing rhymes. Pick out rhyming words and talk about how the middle and endings sound alike. Say or sing a rhyme again and stop before a rhyming word. Have your child fill in the missing word.
Week 2:
Count the number of days in November. Count the number of weeks. Talk to your child about the number of days in each week and the number of weeks in each month.
Week 3:
Attend the Library's "Super Sing-Along" program this month. Learn some new songs and sing old favorites. Find program schedules at
Week 4:
Read five books from the "Singing" booklist.

Activities - Singing:
  1. Check out a CD from Youth Services department at The West Bloomfield Township Public Library. Learn a new song or dance. Check out CD you might not have heard before.
  2. Spontaneously, make up songs with your children, encourage chanting, rhythm, vocal expression, and improvisation.
  3. Another fun way to promote rhythm, higher order thinking skills and vocal expression is to play question-and-answer games, poems, chants, and finger plays with strong rhythmic tones.
  4. Vocal play is a great way to encourage children find their singing voices. Make sounds like an animal, make funny sounds with their voice like a wave, up high singing, or down low.
  5. Traditional children’s songs, nursery rhymes, singing games, and finger plays are very important for young children. It helps them understand sounds, letter sounds, rhythm, rhyme, music, movement, speaking, listening, comprehension and counting. Many children’s songs or nursery rhymes expand vocabulary and subject areas such as letters, numbers and fine motor skills.

More Great Books to Read(click on a title to check for availability at the Library)

For more suggestions and activities on Raising a Reader, follow our Grow Up Reading™ Board on Pinterest

Library Director:  Clara Nalli Bohrer    |    Youth Services Coordinator:  Jill Bickford    |    Early Childhood Specialist:  Emily Vickers

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