Child Literacy

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Helping Young Children Develop Literacy Skills:
Useful Resources for Adult Education Staff 
and their Students

A Resource Guide Compiled by:
Karen Janes
Resource Coordinator
Central Coast Children’s Foundation, Inc.
1 Surf Way, #237,
Monterey, CA 93940

Resources for Teachers

Helping adult literacy students learn to read to children may be a new component of adult literacy classes.  There is an abundance of information on the Internet about family literacy.  Some is about early reading strategies or reading aloud to children, while others focus on beginning writing or creative activities.  They all emphasize the importance of parents, grandparents, or any adults, encouraging children to learn to read.

Taking a basic, everyday activity, and turning it into a reading exercise can enrich children’s vocabulary.  Words are everywhere! Adults can practice reading with kids at the grocery store or walking down the street. This section is designed to help teachers find resources that enable them to teach their adult students to read with children.  It describes a variety of interactive website resources that can be used within the classroom, and that the students can use in their homes.

Information on children’s literacy is often divided by age groups and developmental stages.  There are formal and informal activities that can be modified for any age group.  Some exercises, like listening to BookPals or making a cookbook, will even work for adult literacy students.

Some Family Literacy sites are available in several languages.  Literacy Center, sited below, has curriculums in English, Spanish, German, and French.  This would be great practice for English as a Second Language students, as well as students who want to learn a language other than English.

With so many resources available on the Internet, Family Literacy should be fun and interactive.  Helping adult literacy students read to children will be beneficial for everyone.

The Literacy Center Education Network

The Literacy Center Education Network is a comprehensive website that offers a variety of activities for pre and early reading skills.  The LiteracyCenter.Net serves as many as 1.7 million free literacy lessons a day to children in more than a 160 countries. We provide safe learning activities for parents and teachers to share with young children. All online lessons are free of advertising and free of charge.  The lessons focus on colors, letters, numbers, phonemes, shapes, writing and words.  Curriculum is provided in English, Spanish, French and German, and is helpful in learning a second language as well.

Reading Tips for Parents

Brochures are available in English and Spanish that offer tips on how to read to children.  It is divided by age groups from birth to six years of age.  The brochure describes how the children are developing, as well as useful techniques for each stage.   It is available to be downloaded at www.cde.state.co.us/cdelib/slreadtips.htm.

Department for Education and Skills

The U.K.’s Department for Education and Skills provides good advice for parents on how to incorporate literacy from an early age. The site www.dfes.gov.uk/read/page01.shtml lists simple ways for parents to encourage their children to learn to read at home.

Learning at Home

All children need to learn to read, and all parents want their children to be able to read and write. The most important thing is that children learn better when they enjoy reading.  By enjoying books together and sharing a love of stories from the earliest age, you are helping your child develop – and learning to read is fun!You taught your children the first things they ever knew. Young children watch what adults do and learn by copying them. Reading is no different, but they must want to learn to read. It will help if they can see others enjoying reading themselves. Boys, in particular, need to know that reading is important, and fathers and grandfathers reading to them can help. Seeing adults reading from books, newspapers, recipes or menus will make children want to read for themselves.

Your child will gain a lot from spending time with you talking and listening, reading and writing. Most children will try hard to please you and will want to do well. Best of all, sharing the fun of reading is a great experience for children and adults.

First Steps

•    Babies love words and language. They love it when you sing and read to them and tell them stories, poems and rhymes – and even small babies can enjoy books.

•    From the start, the time you spend reading with your children will make books and stories come alive. Board books and bath books are often the first books children will come across. They can be treated as toys, but they will help them learn how to handle books, how to turn pages and how to enjoy the shapes, colours and pictures.

•    Children often want to listen to the same story again and again. This is fine, as it builds confidence and familiarity with words, and reinforces that stories are fun.

•    Try to share books together each day, and not just at bedtime. A few minutes of special, quiet time with a book every day is much more valuable than half an hour a week.

•    One of the main ways in which you can help children to become readers is by sharing books and reading aloud to them. They will learn to talk about the story and pictures, join in the parts they know and eventually recognize the words on the page.

BookPALS 

BookPALS (Performing Artists for Literacy in Schools) is a fantastic resource for teachers and parents.  A class activity could incorporate listening to the storytellers online as examples of how to read out loud to children.  Adult can then use these examples to improve their reading skills, and share them at home with children.
Storyline Online is an innovative website featuring well-known actors reading quality children’s picture books aloud.  Offered free of charge, these imaginatively produced videos fully capture the intricate illustrations, colors and textures of each book. Storyline Online also includes a supplemental activities section developed by an Early Literacy curriculum specialist. The videos and related activities strengthen comprehension, verbal and written skills of English language learners worldwide. All 17 completed stories and activities are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week at www.storylineonline.net.

New stories this year include:
“Enemy Pie” written by Derek Munson and read by Camryn Manheim “Romeow & Drooliet” written by Nina Laden and read by Haylie Duff “White Socks Only” written by Evelyn Coleman and read by Amber Tamblyn
“When Pigasso Met Mootise” written by Nina Laden and read by Eric Close “Dad, Are You The Tooth Fairy?” written and read by Jason Alexander

Reading is Fundamental

Reading is Fundamental is the nation’s largest children’s literacy organization.  The site offers advice and creative ideas for educators and parents.  Check out www.rif.org/educators/ for projects, interactive games and writing activities that can be altered to use with adult literacy students, and resources that can be passed on to the students.

Resources for Adults

Adult literacy students may be required to spend time reading with children out side of class.  This may seem challenging to new students or students who have not had much interaction with children.  It also may be intimidating for ESL students who feel like their children may read English better than they can.  Sites like Colorín Colorado have tips, exercises, and songs in Spanish, as well as a myriad of other languages that may help ESL students get comfortable reading with children.  Adults and children need to remember that reading is fun, and it gets easier with practice.  The resources below list easy ways to make reading a part of everyday.  There are many educational activities that can be done at home.  Many sources describe methods for reading aloud to children.   Resources are listed below to give adult literacy students ideas about how to learn to read with children.

Fun and Learning

http://www.headstartinfo.org/cgibin/pubcatstore.cfm?CatID=41&do=detail
This handbook contains entertaining educational activities for parents and children. It is a collection of everyday things to do that can easily be done in a family’s home, backyard or even away from home. The book also includes a list of questions to inspire parents to create additional activities.  This publication is also appropriate for other families, childcare providers and classroom teams.

Colorín Colorado

Colorín Colorado is a great resource for teaching children how to read.   It also offers information on reading tips and activities in the following languages: Arabic, English, Haitian Creole, Hmong, Korean, Navajo, Russian, Spanish, Tagalog, Traditional Chinese, VietnameseCheck out the website www.colorincolorado.org for links or look in the Creative Activities section for examples.

Dear Parent:

Welcome to ¡Colorín Colorado!
This bilingual section was created for you, so you’ll have the information you need to help your child become a good reader and successful student.
When you click below, you’ll find simple, powerful ways to help your child. There are ideas on what to do at home, fun reading tips and activities, and much more.

•    What you can do at home
•    Helping your child succeed at school
•    Fun reading tips and activities
•    Books, stories, and more
•    Links to other resources

Research shows that it’s vitally important for children to have a good start in reading. Reading is often the key to success at school and in life. And because you are your child’s first and best teacher, what you do at home – even before your child goes to school – is what will help him or her become a reader.

So explore this Web site. Print out any of the pages. Find out what you can do. And most of all, enjoy reading with your child. As the late, beloved Celia Cruz said, “Reading is a carnival!”

Sincerely,
Colorín Colorado staff

PACER Center

“Let’s Talk” activity cards are an easy way for adults to introduce the first steps of reading, and are fun for children ages 2 to 6.  They help children learn vocabulary and speaking skills with simple directions and colorful cards.  They can be ordered by calling 800-537-2237.  The order number is #PHPa27 and they cost $4 per set.

Tips for Reading to Children

Reading aloud to children may seem simple or boring or challenging to different people.  The goal for reading to children should be to engage them and encourage them to learn from every experience.  It should be an enriching and positive experience for the adults and children, and promote further desire to learn to read.  The following are tips to encourage the narrator, and techniques for engaging the children in the stories.

Tips for Parents

The National Center for Literacy offers a wealth of information about family literacy.  The section “Tips for Parents” at www.familylit.org is divided into sections based on ages of kids, components of reading, and activities in Spanish and English that are in the Creative Activities section.

Parents as Readers

All parents want their children to be able to read. Some parents think they do not read well enough to help their children. That’s hardly ever the case. There are things every parent can do to help his or her child get ready to read:

•    Look at books with your child — the pictures in children’s books help tell the story. As you and your child practice reading simple words and phrases, you’re building your own reading skills as well as your child’s.
•    Recite nursery rhymes or make up rhymes — children need to hear the rhyming sounds in words such as “Humpty Dumpty sat on the wall, Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.” or “The old fat cat sat on the mat with the rat.”
•    Sing songs. Most songs are really poems set to music — they have rhythm and rhyme, two important elements that can help build reading skills.
•    Tell stories — family stories, neighborhood stories, stories from your childhood.
•    Ask questions that your child can’t answer with just a “yes” or “no” — Why do you think that dog is barking? What do you see when you look out the window? Talking with your child is one of the best ways to build language skills.
•    Talk about colors and shapes — Have you seen my blue key case? It is not light blue like the sky, but dark blue like a policeman wears. The ball is a big circle. What else is shaped like a circle?
•    Count—Grandma is coming to dinner. If we set a place for her, how many plates do we need to put on the table? Count the plates as you set the table.
•    Draw and color pictures and “write” together.

Partnership for Reading

The National Institute for Literacy created the Partnership for Reading, which provides information about effective teaching of reading for children, adolescents and adults based on evidence from quality research.  It includes the following parent guide, which gives principles about reading instruction suggested by research.  There are also two downloadable booklets, “A Child Becomes a Reader,” for children in preschool or grades K-3.
www.nifl.gov/partnershipforreading/publications/reading_first2#top

Put Reading First: Helping Your Child Learn to Read
A Parent Guide
Preschool Through Grade 3

When children become good readers in the early grades, they are more likely to become better learners throughout their school years and beyond.  Learning to read is hard work for children. Fortunately, research is now available that suggests how to give each child a good start in reading.
Becoming a reader involves the development of important skills, including learning to:

•    use language in conversation
•    listen and respond to stories read aloud
•    recognize and name the letters of the alphabet
•    listen to the sounds of spoken language
•    connect sounds to letters to figure out the “code” of reading
•    read often so that recognizing words becomes easy and automatic
•    learn and use new words
•    understand what is read

Preschool and kindergarten teachers set the stage for your child to learn to read with some critical early skills. First, second, and third grade teachers then take up the task of building the skills that children will use every day for the rest of their lives. As a parent, you can help by understanding what teachers are teaching and by asking questions about your child’s progress and the classroom reading program.

You can also help your children become readers. Learning to read takes practice, more practice than children get during the school day. This brochure describes what a quality reading program should look like at school and how you can support that program through activities with your children.
If your child is just beginning to learn to read
At school you should see teachers…

•    Teaching the sounds of language. The teacher provides opportunities for children to practice with the sounds that make up words. Children learn to put sounds together to make words and to break words into their separate sounds.
•    Teaching the letters of the alphabet. Teachers help children learn to recognize letter names and shapes.
•    Helping children learn and use new words.
•    Reading to children every day. Teachers read with expression and talk with children about what they are reading.

At home you can help by…

•    Practicing the sounds of language. Read books with rhymes. Teach your child rhymes, short poems, and songs. Play simple word games: How many words can you make up that sound like the word “bat”?
•    Helping your child take spoken words apart and put them together. Help your child separate the sounds in words, listen for beginning and ending sounds, and put separate sounds together.
•    Practicing the alphabet by pointing out letters wherever you see them and by reading alphabet books.

If your child is just beginning to read
At school you should see teachers…

•    Systematically teaching phonics–how sounds and letters are related.
•    Giving children the opportunity to practice the letter-sound relationships they are learning. Children have the chance to practice sounds and letters by reading easy books that use words with the letter-sound relationships they are learning.
•    Helping children write the letter-sound relationships they know by using them in words, sentences, messages, and their own stories.
•    Showing children ways to think about and understand what they are reading. The teacher asks children questions to show them how to think about the meaning of what they read.

At home you can help by…

•    Pointing out the letter-sound relationships your child is learning on labels, boxes, newspapers, magazines and signs.
•    Listening to your child read words and books from school. Be patient and listen as your child practices. Let your child know you are proud of his reading.

If your child is reading
At school you should see teachers…

•    Continuing to teach letter-sound relationships for children who need more practice. On average, children need about two years of instruction in letter-sound relationships to become good spellers as well as readers.
•    Teaching the meaning of words, especially words that are important to understanding a book.
•    Teaching ways to learn the meaning of new words. Teachers cannot possibly teach students the meaning of every new word they see or read. Children should be taught how to use dictionaries to learn word meanings, how to use known words and word parts to figure out other words, and how to get clues about a word from the rest of the sentence.
•    Helping children understand what they are reading. Good readers think as they read and they know whether what they are reading is making sense. Teachers help children to check their understanding. When children are having difficulty, teachers show them ways to figure out the meaning of what they are reading.

At home you can help your child by…

•    Rereading familiar books. Children need practice in reading comfortably and with expression using books they know.
•    Building reading accuracy. As your child is reading aloud, point out words he missed and help him read words correctly. If you stop to focus on a word, have your child reread the whole sentence to be sure he understands the meaning.
•    Building reading comprehension. Talk with your child about what she is reading. Ask about new words. Talk about what happened in a story. Ask about the characters, places, and events that took place. Ask what new information she has learned from the book. Encourage her to read on her own.

Make reading a part of every day

•    Share conversations with your child over meal times and other times you are together. Children learn words more easily when they hear them spoken often. Introduce new and interesting words at every opportunity.
•    Read together every day. Spend time talking about stories, pictures, and words.
•    Be your child’s best advocate. Keep informed about your child’s progress in reading and ask the teacher about ways you can help.
•    Be a reader and a writer. Children learn habits from the people around them.
•    Visit the library often. Story times, computers, homework help, and other exciting activities await the entire family.

For additional copies of this brochure, contact the National Institute for Literacy at ED Pubs,
PO Box 1398, Jessup, MD 20794-1398. 1-800-228-8813. Fax 301-470-1244.
Email edpuborders@edpubs.org. Or download the document at www.nifl.gov.

Helping Your Child Become a Reader

The U.S. Department of Education maintains a comprehensive site about family literacy at www.ed.gov/parents/read/resources.  There is a downloadable book that has fun activities to build children’s language skills.  It also includes a reading checklist, book suggestions, and resources for kids with learning disabilities.  The book is available in English or Spanish.

The National Center for Family Literacy

The National Center for Family Literacy has an interactive website that offers tips for parents who want to help their learn children how to read.  It includes information about the alphabet and phonetics, which will be helpful for low literacy adults.  It provides information in Spanish and English.

Resources for Reading to Children

The Family Literacy Foundation has designed a website that offers great resources that parents can order to facilitate reading to children.  The following are book clubs and magazines that are geared towards children and provide activities for reading out loud.  This website, www.read2kids.org/readaloud, also offers links to the following sites, as well as techniques and suggestions.

Book Clubs

Scholastic Book Clubs
904 Sylvan Avenue
Englewood Cliffs, NJ 07632 1-800-724-6527

Troll Book Clubs
4600 Pleasant Hill Road
Memphis, TN 38118
1-888-99-TROLL

The Trumpet Club
P.O. Box 604
Holmes, PA 19043

Magazines

Highlights for Children
P.O. Box 269
2300 Fifth Ave.
Columbus, Ohio 43216
1-800-603-0349

Ranger Rick Magazine
National Wildlife Federation
1-800-822-9919

Sesame Street
Children’s Television Workshop
Sesame Street Magazine
One Lincoln Plaza
New York, NY 10023

Creative Family Literacy Activities

Reading is not an educational activity that should be restricted to the classroom.  Learning to read should be incorporated into everyday activities, and it should be entertaining and fun.  Every reading experience will enrich children’s vocabulary.  Children will pay more attention if more of their senses are stimulated, therefore try to make reading “hands-on.”  This will also promote a desire to continue to read in the future.  Art activities, games, songs, and music encourage children to be excited about reading.

The Buddy Project

The Buddy Family Backpack was a project to promote collaboration between teachers and Family Literacy BackPacks library/media specialists in furthering family literacy. Teams created theme based backpacks filled with materials and activities for home use in grades K-8.  More information can be found at www.buddyproject.org/backpack.

Family Literacy BackPacks

1. Each backpack was designed around a theme using readily available materials and technologies to promote reading, viewing and thinking activities in the family at a minimal cost.
2. Available for checkout or assignment to families, backpacks provided a wealth of stimulating material and activities for home discovery and discussion.
3. You may find more than one backpack on a theme. The approaches, activities and materials used are unique to each based on student needs or standards focus.
4. Explore the backpack idea, by selecting a theme below.

Simple Tips for Making a Family Literacy Backpack

1. Obtain a Backpack
1. Demco Library Supplies have net backpacks.
2. Wal-Marts have had clear backpacks.
3. Some stores might even donate them.
2. Determine a theme and a title for the Backpack and then select a graphic that can be put on items you make (Booklet, Bookmarks and Feedback form) to connect them all together (i.e. Farm Animals – picture of a barn).
1. Many examples are listed on this page.
2. Just select theme you want and then a Backpack. Bookmarks and Booklets are provided.
3. Acquire literacy items that go with the theme for inside the Backpack
1. Books at various reading levels (picture book to adult)
2. Magazines
3. Videos
4. Manipulatives
1. Games
2. Stuffed animals
3. Toys
4. Computer software
5. Journals
6. Other hands-on activities
5. Other ideas found to go with the theme
6. These items can be purchased from companies, mail-order, at company warehouse sales, Discount warehouses, discount bookstores, public library sales, school library discarded books, donation from various companies or stores, new or used donated by student’s families.
4. Set up an introductory Booklet or letter to explain the Backpacks to the families. This can be attached to the outside of the Backpack or placed inside in a folder. The booklet is a 4-sided card (ran through the printer twice).
1. Front includes – Theme title, graphic, short description of the purpose of the Backpack
2. Inside are the Indiana Academic Standards that are addressed in the activities and a few Additional fun activities families can do
3. Back is a listing of all the items in the Backpack for easy organization
5. Design Bookmarks for each item in the Backpack
1. We developed family-centered activities around each item in the Backpack. Some were follow-up activities, crafts, internet and computer activities.
2. These are listed on the Bookmark and placed with the item in the Backpack.
6. Management of Backpacks
1. Determine how long Backpacks will be taken out for (most kept over 1-2 weekends)? Who is allowed to check them out (certain grades, certain groups of students, only students who’s parents came to an introduction meeting)? Where the Backpacks are housed when they are not checked out? Who will check them in and out? How will records be kept on who has taken them out? Set up a policy on if things are lost or damaged; Possibly set up a replacement fund.
2. A feedback form, which covers what activities were done and how they were received. This should be filled out by the family after the they have completed the activities.
3. Journals to record what went on while the Backpack was at home were used in some backpacks.

World of Wonder

World of Wonder offers kits filled with fun and interesting early childhood curriculum.  The kits are composed of a range of activities about a theme and vary for ranges in age between 0 and 8. Free catalogs can be ordered from www.wowkits.com/.  They offer a family literacy bag:

Family Literacy Bags – Our Favorite Stories bags are designed to promote reading as an activity that families can do together. Each bag is tailored for a different level of reader and includes 2 books, 2 objects related to the books, and an activity binder with ideas that encourage family involvement. Ages 0-8. $60.00 each

Department of Education and Skills

The U.K.’s Department of Education and Skills has put together simple activities that can be incorporated in the everyday routine to help children learn to read.  Most children learn to read by putting letters together that match up with the sounds that they remember hearing. They learn the sounds that letters make. They learn how letters join together to make words.

Words don’t just belong in books. Look around – you’ll see them everywhere:

Children looking at a sign
* on signs and posters;
* in shop windows and newspapers;
* on groceries and football shirts; and
* in the titles of TV programmes.

Remember to encourage your child every time they read or write with you. Never say children are lazy or stupid if they can’t do it first time.
You can use the words you see every day to help your child learn. One of the best ways to do this is by looking at pictures of what the word means – or at the real thing.
Beginner readers also learn that print on the page actually means something. Words name things, they tell us stories or give us information.

You can help by doing the following:

* Singing. Rhymes help children see how letters make the same pattern in different words. Play ‘odd one out games’. For example, which word is the odd one in a list like cat, mat, dog, sat?
* Play ‘I-spy’. It is a great way of showing that every word begins with a letter.
* At the shops, point out the names of different kinds of food as you go past them (for example, apples, bacon, and cheese).
* Encourage your child to choose a book for you to read to them.
* Show your child the way words go from left to right on the page by underlining them with fingers – yours first, then theirs!
* Don’t keep them guessing for a long time if they can’t say a new word – help them spell it out slowly using the sounds of the letters and then say it faster together.

Praise your child when they work out a new word for themselves, or when they go back and put right a word they got wrong the first time.

Alphabet Knowledge

Young children learn that alphabet letters are important because we sing, play games, and read and write with letters. Understanding the relationship between letters and sounds and the idea that spoken words are made up of letters is important. Experiences with alphabet letters should be fun, active and meaningful. Knowing the names of letters is one of the first steps in learning to read.

Alphabets are different! The Spanish alphabet has 30 letters, while the English alphabet has 26 letters. In Spanish, children are introduced to vowels before consonants. Alphabets such as Native American, Chinese or Arabic use characters and add extra letters to match the sounds of the language. Regardless of the language, alphabet letter learning should be an important and fun experience for all children.

Do you remember any songs and rhymes about alphabet letters that you learned as a child? Be sure to share these with your children; they are one of your child’s first experiences with the alphabet.
Children’s familiarity with concepts such as shapes, counting, big/small, straight/curvy, over/under, up/down and next to helps them build the skills needed to recognize letters.

Alphabet Ideas — Here are some activities you can use to help your child learn about the alphabet.

*Display letters at your child’s eye level. You can put magnetic letters on the refrigerator so they can be touched and played with.
*Let your child make letter shapes out of materials like play dough or string. You can draw letters in shaving cream, sand or paint.
*Pay particular attention to letters that are meaningful to your child.
The letters of her name.
Letters that spell words like papa (dad), mama (mom), abuela (grandma), abuelo (grandpa) or amor (love).
Letters that spell the names of favorite “others” — friends, siblings, pets, cousins, aunts or uncles.

Pitney Bowes Literacy and Education Fund Developed by the National Center for Family Literacy as part of the La Lectura en Familia/Families Reading Together project through generous funding from Pitney Bowes Literacy & Education Fund.

Phonological Awareness: Sounds of Spoken Language

Phonological awareness is all about the sounds of language. Young children who have phonological awareness can:

* Recognize familiar sounds.
* Imitate sounds.
* Hear the differences in sounds.
* Notice when words begin with the same sound [alliteration]: foca, fiesta, flores (seal, fiesta, flowers) or end with the same sound [rhyme]: gato, pato, saco (cat, duck, bag).
* Understand that sentences are made up of separate words.

Supporting phonological awareness is essential because: the phonological awareness children have when they start kindergarten is strongly related to later success in learning to read. It is helpful for children when families share familiar and interesting rhymes and songs in their home language. This is a playful way to help your child as he develops phonological awareness. The best thing about this skill is that families can have lots of fun while learning about sounds!

Ideas for Supporting Phonological Awareness — Here are a few things you can do to help your child as she begins to hear the sounds of spoken language.

* Emphasize rhyming activities by:
Letting your child fill in a rhyming word when reading or chanting.
Making up funny rhymes using your child’s name or other words.
Reading books with strong rhyming patterns such as Albertina anda arriba del alfabeto or Dr. Seuss stories in English.
* Share alliteration activities such as:
Sing songs or recite poetry where it would be easy to substitute the first sounds of words. For example gato, pato, sapo (cat, duck, frog).
Make a book with your child. Use her favorite letters and cut out pictures of items that begin with that letter and sound.

Pitney Bowes Literacy and Education FundDeveloped by the National Center for Family Literacy as part of the La Lectura en Familia/Families Reading Together project through generous funding from Pitney Bowes Literacy & Education Fund.

Actividades Creativas de Alfabatismo para la Familia

Leer no es una actividad que debe estar limitado a la escuela.  Los niños deben practicar a leer todos los días, se lo divirten.  Es mejor si hacen actividades de arte, musica, y juegos para que los niños prestan atención y disfrutan la lección.

www. Colorincolorado.org ofrece actividades en español para enseñar los niños a leer:

Actividades para enseñarle a su niño los sonidos
Por lo regular, los niños pueden jugar a rimar y otros juegos con sonidos desde los tres o cuatro años de edad. Poder escuchar los distintos sonidos de las palabras es un paso de gran importancia para su niño.  He aquí unas cuantas maneras útiles para aprender los sonidos.

Jueguen con el nombre de su niño

Pídale decir palabras que comienzen con el mismo sonido, como: José, jugar, jabón.
*Digan trabalenguas

Los trabalenguas son una manera muy divertida de practicar los sonidos. He aquí unos cuantos con lo que podrán jugar:

Cómelo, Cosme
Cómelo cosme,
cómelo con limón,
cómelo con melón
y con melocotón.

Compadre
Compadre, cómpreme un coco.
Compadre, coco no compro,
que el que poco coco come,
poco coco compra.
Yo, como poco coco como,
poco coco compro.

Tres tristes tigres
Tres tristes tigres tragaban trigo
en tres tristes platos en un trigal.
En tres tristes trastros en un trigal,
tres tristes tigres tragaban trigo.

¿Cuántos cuentos?
Cuando cuentes cuentos,
cuenta cuántos cuentas,
porque cuando cuentas cuentos,
nunca sabes cuántos cuentos cuentas.

 Practiquen los sonidos de las vocales

He aquí algunas rimas para decir, con las cuales podrán practicar los sonidos de las vocales:

A
Mi gatita enferma está,
No sé si se curará
O si al fin se morirá.
Mi gatita enferma está.

E
A mi me gusta el café,
No sé si lo tomaré,
O si al fin lo dejaré,
A mí me gusta el café.

I
Mi sombrerito perdí,
Con un lazo de carmesí,
Y un ramito de alhelí,
Mi sombrerito perdí.

O
Tengo un bonito reloj,
Mi papá me lo compró,
Y ayer tarde se paró,
Tengo un bonito reloj.

U
Ayer cantaba el cucú,
En el árbol de bambú,
¿Dime si lo oíste tú?
Ayer cantaba el cucú.

* Digan rimas con su hijo
1. Diga una palabra como “gato” y pídale a su niño pensar en alguna palabra que rime con ella, (como “pato”). Diga por ejemplo, “pata” y “lata”, o “chico” y “rico”. ¡Rimen juntos cada vez que puedan!
2. Al decir rimas, deténgase antes de llegar a la última palabra que rime y pídale a su hijo que la diga. Por ejemplo: “Bate, bate, chocolate, tu nariz de ______”.
3. Use los juguetes o muñecos de su hijo para practicar la rima. Pretenda que el muñeco dice algo como lo siguiente: “Me llamo Marco y me gustan las palabras que riman con mi nombre. Voy a decir algunas palabras y quiero que me digas si riman con Marco. ¿Listo? ¿ `Barco´ rima con ´Marco´? ¿´Pelota´ rima con ´Marco´? ¿´Charco´ rima con ´Marco´? Espere a que el niño responda sí o no a cada pregunta.

Enséñele el alfabeto: A – Z

Un niño o niña que puede decir las letras del alfabeto y deletrear su nombre antes de comenzar el kindergarten, ya cuenta con un buen comienzo. He aquí una manera de enseñarles el alfabeto a sus hijos. Use las letras que haya comprado o elaborado para lo siguiente:
letter mat

1. Trace el contorno de cada letra en un pedazo de papel grande, dibuje las letras, una al lado de la otra en forma de arco.

2. Pídale al niño que cuente cuántas letras hay.

3. A continuación, pídale al niño que coloque cada una de las letras cortadas sobre la letra correspondiente en el arco.

4. Enséñele al niño el nombre de cada letra. Preséntele cada día unas cuantas letras nuevas. Diga algo como: “Esta es la letra A”.

5. Una vez que el niño conozca el nombre de cada letra, pídale decir el nombre de la letra al colocarla en su lugar en el arco.

6. Repitan esta actividad con frecuencia hasta que el niño pueda reconocer cada una de ellas, colocarla en el lugar correcto en el arco y decir el nombre de cada letra. Por lo regular, un niño necesita varias semanas para aprender todas las letras.

Conocimiento del alfabeto

Los niños se dan cuenta de que las letras del alfabeto son importantes porque cantamos y jugamos con ellas y las usamos para leer y escribir. Entender la relación que existe entre las letras y los sonidos y entender la idea que todas las palabras habladas están formadas por letras es importante. Las experiencias que tienen con las letras deben ser divertidas, activas y significativas. El conocimiento los nombres de las letras es uno de los primeros pasos para aprender a leer.

Los alfabetos son distintos. El alfabeto español se distingue del inglés en que tiene 30 letras y no solo 26. Además, los adultos les presentan a los niños primero los vocales y después las consonantes. Los alfabetos como el indio americano, chino, o árabe usan caráctares y añaden letras extras para describir los sonidos del lenguaje. A pesar del lenguaje que hablen, aprender las letras de alfabeto debe ser una experiencia importante y divertida para todos los niños.

¿Se acuerda de las canciones y rimas del alfabeto que aprendieron de niños? Comparta estas canciones con sus niños; estas son unas de las primeras experiencias que tienen los niños con las letras.

La familiaridad que logran los niños con los conceptos de las formas, el contar, conceptos de grande/pequeño, derecho/curvado, sobre/debajo, arriba/abajo y enseguida ayuda a desarrollar las habilidades que necesitan para reconocer las letras.

Estrategias para leer libros del alfabeto — Algunas estrategias que usted puede usar para que su niño aprenda sobre el alfabeto.

* Asegure que las letras están a la altura de los ojos del niño. Las letras magnéticas se pueden poner en la refrigeradora para que las pueda tocar y jugar con ellas.
* Deje que su niño haga las formas de las letras con materiales como masa o plastilina. Usted puede dibujar las letras con crema de afeitarse, arena, o pintura.
* Preste atención a las letras que son más significativas para su niño, por ejemplo:
Las letras de su nombre.
Las letras que forman palabras como papá, mamá, abuela, abuelo, o amor.
Las letras que forman los nombres de otras cosas favoritas – amigos, hermanos, mascotas, primos, tías, o tíos.

Conciencia fonológica: Los sonidos del lenguaje hablado

La conciencia fonológica se refiere a los sonidos del idioma. Entre algunas de las cosas que hacen los niños que ya tienen conciencia fonológica son las siguientes:

* Reconocen sonidos conocidos.
* Imitan los sonidos.
* Escuchan las diferencias en los sonidos.
* Notan cuando las palabras comienzan con el mismo sonido (aliteración), por ejemplo: foca, fiesta, flores, o terminan con el mismo sonido (rima), por ejemplo: gato, pato, saco.
* Entienden que las oraciones se componen de palabras independientes.

Es esencial apoyar la conciencia fonológica del niño porque: la conciencia fonológica que tienen los niños al comenzar kindergarten está directamente relacionada con el éxito que tendrán cuando aprenden a leer. A los niños les ayuda cuando las familias comparten las rimas y las canciones familiares en el idioma del hogar. Esto sería una manera divertida de ayudar al niño mejorar la conciencia fonológica. Lo mejor de la conciencia fonológica es la diversión que usted y su niño pueden disfrutar mientras aprendan sobre los sonidos.

Estrategias para apoyar la conciencia fonológica — Las estrategias que siguen demuestran actividades que usted puede hacer cuando su niño empieza a oír los sonidos del lenguaje hablado.

* Poner énfasis en las actividades con rima, por ejemplo:
Deje que su niño use una palabra para completar una rima cuando lea o recita.
Invente rimas divertidas usando el nombre del niño y otras palabras.
Lea libros que tienen un ritmo de rima fuerte, por ejemplo Albertina anda arriba del alfabeto o cuentos por Dr. Seuss en inglés.
*Compartir actividades de aliteración, entre ellas:
Cante canciones o recite poesía donde sería fácil reemplazar los primeros sonidos de las palabras: gato, pato, sapo.
Diseñe un libro con su niño. Use sus letras favoritas o recorte fotos de cosas que comienzan con esa letra y ese sonido.

Writing Activities to Support Literacy

Literacy experts understand that speaking, listening, writing and reading are closely connected skills. Oral language proficiency leads to success in written language; reading and writing skills reinforce each other. Although this resource guide focuses on reading, we have included below some particularly useful resources dealing with these complementary skills.

Kid Writing: A Systematic Approach to Phonics, Journals, and Writing Workshop.

Turn children who don’t know the alphabet into fluent, proficient, and confident writers! Kid Writing invites you into classrooms that integrate phonics instruction across the curriculum and throughout the school day. Kindergartners through second-graders, as well as preschoolers, second-language learners, and special education students, flourish in this program. Once you’ve witnessed the success of this approach and have seen the techniques, you’ll be ready to try it yourself.  You can order this book at www.wrightgroup.com/index.php/componentsale?isbn=032206435X.

Starfall

Reading is a vital part of life and we feel that no child should be left behind. The books and games offer beginning readers the opportunity to explore and interact with words and the sounds that make up those words. Decoding is an essential skill that will develop your child into a fluent reader some day.  Starfall focuses on simple, fun interactivity and the sounding out of almost every word. All your child has to do is click on the screen, watch and listen!
The Starfall (www.starfall.com) learn-to-read website is offered free as a public service. It provides writing journals and books at a very low cost that can be used with the website or separately. Starfall materials are used as an inexpensive way to make the classroom more fun and to inspire a love of reading and writing.

Eye on the Sky

Eye on the Sky and Project FIRST offer a variety of writing activities at www.eyeonthesky.org/activities/w_act.html.  These interactive activities include making and using sentence strips in a variety of ways, and creating stories.

Literacy Center

Literacycenter.net gives writing lessons on basic skills such as the alphabet, numbers and colors.  The computer leads children through the activities. Check out www.literacycenter.net/lessonview_en.htm. It provides a Flashload Player download that enables the computer to run the lessons.

Speaking and Listening for Preschool Through Third Grade

This comprehensive book includes four CD-ROMs containing video clips of children who meet speaking and listening expectations for their age. A “sampler” is available at www.ncee.org/speaking/intro.html.

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