Dear Bacon Families,
I would like to introduce myself, I am the new literacy specialist at Bacon.
The amazing Katherine Bunker and I provide literacy intervention in small
groups to complement classroom instruction. I have a passion for literacy
and completed my M. Ed in Literacy many years ago. I taught first grade
for eight years and third grade for nine years. I’m thrilled about my new
role at Bacon.
When I tell people I’m a literacy interventionist, I tend to get asked,
“What can I do to help my child be a better reader?” Well the answer can
be as complex as the process of reading but there are some EASY things
you can do to promote literacy skills with your child.
1. Read to your kids.
I know everyone says this, but it really is a good
idea. I’ve heard this referred to as the “chicken
soup” of reading education. We prescribe it for
everything. Reading to kids exposes them to richer
vocabulary than they usually hear from the adults
who speak to them, and can have positive impacts
on their language development, intelligence, and
2. Have them tell you a “story.”
One great way to introduce kids to literacy is to
take their dictation. Have them recount an experience or make up a
story. A typical first story may be something like, “I like hamburgers. I like
my brother. I like playing with Connor.” Write it as it is being told, and
then read it aloud. Point at the words when you read them, or point at
them when your child is trying to read the story. Over time, with lots of
rereading, don’t be surprised if your child starts to recognize words such
as “I” or “like.” For more advanced students, make up oral stories while
driving in the car. After you’ve told one, allow your child a turn.
3. Teach phonemic awareness.
Young children don’t hear the sounds within words. They hear “dog,” but
not the “duh”-“aw”- “guh.” To become readers, they have to learn to
hear these sounds (or phonemes). Play language games with your child.
For instance, say a word, perhaps her name, and then change it by one
phoneme: Jen-Pen, Jen-Hen, Jen-Men. Or, just break a word apart: chair…
ch-ch-ch-air. Games are a great way to get children learning.
4. Listen to your child read.
When your child starts bringing books home from school, have her read to
you. If it doesn’t sound good (mistakes, choppy reading), have her read it
again. Or better yet, instead of your child struggling through the book,
read it to her. Then have her try to read it herself. Studies show that this
kind of repeated oral reading makes students better readers, even when it
is done at home.
Make reading a part of your daily life, and kids will learn to love it. When I
was eight years old, my mom had my brother and I stay at the table for a
twenty minutes after dinner to read. She would grab her book and read
next to us. She took me to the library to get books. These activities made
me a lifelong reader. Set aside a little time this weekend when everyone
turns off the TV and technology and does nothing but read. Above all,
MAKE IT FUN! When you finish reading a book that has been made into a
movie, make some popcorn and watch the movie together. The point is to
make reading a regular enjoyable part of your family routine.