As parents, we are often asked to encourage children to think of books as their friends and to instil a love for reading and writing from the early years.
How can you play a part in nurturing a genuine love for reading and writing in your child? Here are some ideas for mini projects that you can do together with your child this holiday!
1. Read every day
- Include a wide range of high-quality fiction and non-fiction texts that are suited to your child's interests - poetry, books in your home language, books with real life images, recipe books, maps and magazines.
- Keep books in baskets so that they can be easily transported to different areas of the home and/or outdoors.
2. Engage in writing experiences
- Include a variety of drawing tools (crayons, pens, felt tip pens, chalk). Make clipboards available to support writing anywhere, without having to move to a table.
- Go on a letter hunt with a camera and find as many letters and or words in the home or neighbourhood as you can.
- Form letters with dough, clay, wire, or even your bodies, and take photos for further reflection.
- Include a ready supply of notebooks, sticky notes, envelopes and rolls of paper ribbons to encourage mark-making and early writing.
- Cut out letters (upper and lower case) and words from magazines, so that children understand ‘fonts’.
- Make sure pretend play areas e.g. shops and restaurants are equipped with invitations to ‘read’, including menus or food packaging/labels.
3. Create your own books
- Make your own audio books. You can read in your own home languages.
- Make your own unique dictionary of words that are relevant to your child's interests.
- Make a large visual recipe sheet when cooking with your child. Use real labels from food packaging. This supports connections to your child's real life experiences. For example, you can photocopy the image of a real packet of flour for the recipe. Collate your visual recipes and make your own big book of recipes.
- Make a book about your favourite song. You can write down each line/phrase of the song on a separate page while letting your child illustrate the pages.
- Co-author a book with your child – invite him to suggest the topic and encourage him to contribute by drawing or painting.
4. Place emphasis on environmental print
Immerse your child in a print-rich environment. This helps them to see the relevance of print and also builds the connection between verbal and written language.
Design labels for different parts of your home with your child and get the creative juices flowing.