Language, comprehension and literacy skills can often be tricky to foster effectively in kids, especially in those who are bilingual. As much as we want our children to be fluent, and eloquent, sometimes we just can’t figure out how to make this happen.
Introducing children to wide variety of literacy media early on can help induce positive results in terms of increased learning and literary abilities. Don’t restrict to just book, look into arts and crafts, magazines, sports media, and pro- socially restricted use of screens and internet. Even reading aloud whatever you yourself are reading during the day, can have a positive influence in terms of learning and your child may unconsciously be picking up words and expressions.
We’re going to break down how you can encourage literary development in children of different age groups, so that you can make an early and smart start.
For young children
According to studies reading out to the baby in the womb, especially in the third trimester, boosts word recognition and children may actually pick up words faster that they had heard before birth.
As for infants and young children, nursery rhymes or short moral stories are a great place to start. The recurring pattern in words and the usually light themes are easier to understand and since the words sound similar, they are usually easier to learn.
It is important to be consistent with a bedtime routine and make sure to read to them every night, even if it is for ten minutes. If you are trying to teach your child a language different from what they usually speak at home, try reading to them in that language to increase their vocabulary and comprehensions skills in that language. This will also increase your child’s curiosity and yearn to excel at that language in school later on.
Another great way to improve word recognition is by putting up different media around the house. Try labeling different things and reading them out to your child so that the baby can learn to recognize words and sounds simultaneously.
Also use different mediums to educate your infant. Try putting up textured surfaces to teach them about adjectives. You can also try including phonics during play time. Using sentences like “B for ball” or making letter sounds while you engage in play will imprint these things at the back of their mind and they’re more likely to refer back to them when they actually start speaking and reading.
Lastly, audio and play books are also great sources of learning. Playing the audio book out loud and listening to it with your child while also reacting and showing interest to the story is surely a good way to boost hearing and comprehension skills while also a good way to bond with your baby.
For older children, similarly, having a regular bedtime story time routine can work wonders. While you can allow your child to pick what they want to read, try choosing books with slightly harder sentence structure and words, so that there are more chances of learning. Underline new words and maybe try making a word bank and referring back to it later to try and get your child to use new words in sentences.
You can also play word games, such as scrabble, which promote using and constructing new words. Try incorporating bigger words in your daily vocabulary to show your child how new words don’t have to be restricted to reading time.
Now is also a good time to get your kids to write. Casually get them to write anecdotes, poem or maintain a journal or diary. They don’t have to share what they write, but fostering the importance of writing is essential.
If your child is into playing video games or gaming on the ipad, try introducing them to constructive games, such as crossword or Pictionary. This way they can enjoy, but also learn simultaneously.
One thing which all of us experienced during adolescences was obsessions. Be it with TV characters, movie actors, or books series, there will surely be something or someone your children are obsessing over. You can use this to your advantage. Try buying them book series that are ‘in’ or popular during that time and subtly encourage reading as opposed to consumption of digital media. Maybe buy them a kindle or other digital book source so that they can stay up to date while also conveniently read.
At this point, you should also encourage them to join literary societies at school, or make frequent visits to the library too. By this time, their habit of reading at bedtime should have solidified and in order to provide them with material to read at bedtime, you should be ensuring that they have access to literary places.
Encourage them to also participate in competitions such as writing, reading, spoken word poetry etc. this can boost confidence, and the positive reinforcement may encourage them to develop literary passions.
All in all, the essential; factor is to try to include learning, knowledge and literary interest in your child’s routine. Let them explore different genres and books when they want to and be sure to start off early on. Make reading and writing a part of your children’s lifestyle and extra-curricular. And the best thing you can do, is to be an example. Show them how important literary learning is to you, so that they can equally value it for themselves.