By Ryan Crawley for Dadspadblog.com – Many people mistakenly believe literacy only refers to reading. However, that is a misnomer. Literacy is much more than that. Literacy involves reading, writing, matching sounds with letters, vocabulary, spelling, and comprehension. It’s an all in one package. When a teacher suggests working with your child on their literacy skills, remember that it must include everything.
But helping your child with their reading is one thing, and figuring out how to assist with everything else is another. Still, do not worry. It can be accomplished much easier than you might have originally thought. Literacy is meant for active learners, and this means that not only do students need to know how to read well, they also have to be able to fully form and express their thoughts through their writing. These activities below will combine reading with writing for kids of all ages.
A reading journal is a simple thing to use and maintain on an almost daily basis. Parents can then choose one day a week and read over what their child has written. Basically, after a child does their required reading for the day, they then write down their thoughts about the book into their reading journal. The kid can summarize what they read, predict what they believe will happen next, and various other things. With a reading journal, it is easy to change up the purpose for the writing frequently so the writer does not get bored writing just essentially book reports all the time.
Sight Word Sentences
For children that are a bit younger and still learning their sight words, having them create sight word sentences is a fun little task for them to accomplish. Provide them with ten sight words and ask them to write a sentence using only those words. It can often be a humorous game since kids think outside the box quite frequently. It is a little known fact that Dr. Seuss created Cat in the Hat by using basically the first 250 most commonly used sight words. It was a challenge that his publisher playfully proposed to him at the time. It left Dr. Seuss with one of the most well known books of all time!
Online Typing Sites
There are online sites that are totally free that will help with your child’s reading and writing skills, but also provide them with the valuable typing skills that they will eventually need to survive in the 21st century. One of my favorites to use with my students is TypingClub. It is systematic, so once a lesson is passed, a slightly more difficult lesson will take its place. I have used TypingClub for students from first grade to eighth grade. It will condition the student into eventually typing full sentences with punctuation.
Writing prompts are a surefire way to inspire any child to start writing. The key is to provide them with three or four writing prompts to choose from. They will choose the one that they believe will be perfect for them. It is always a good idea to give options for reading and writing for kids. Just like adults, if we are forced to read a certain book, our hearts might not be in it. But if we are given a few options to choose from, we will be more personally involved in it.
So much of writing involves writing about personal experiences. Sharing stories about your life is a natural topic to write about. No matter how young or old the child, they will also enjoy writing about certain situations that they have been involved in. An interesting writing task is writing about a situation where both of you were present, and then each writing down how everything happened through their own eyes. Comparing the two is often quite humorous.
Nothing may inspire a child more to write than telling them it is going to be entered into a writing contest for kids. My students will take twice as long creating the perfect story if they know there is a chance that they will win something or be published in a national magazine. There are numerous writing contests for kids out there. Some of the better known ones offer better prizes or more exposure, but they are also more difficult to win since more kids enter. PBS Kids is a popular one for students. Anything to do with Scholastic will have kids excited since they know of the Scholastic brand. Stone Soup magazine will definitely get your child’s creative juices flowing, and it is for children that are 13 years of age and younger. Again, there are many writing contests out there. Just doing a quick search should give you plenty of ideas!