Tips for Families as Their Children's First Teacher
As a family member you begin teaching your babies about language as you welcome them into the world with smiles and caring words. You respond to your children's coos, babbles, early words, and simple sentences. By the time your children are preschoolers, they know a lot about language. You have spent many hours listening, talking, reading, and writing with them.
- Talk with and listen to your children as you play and do daily activities together.
- Read with your children at a regular time every day and when they ask you.
- Take toddlers and preschoolers to the library so that they can choose books to read at home. Find out about your library's special books and services.
- Create a special place in your home for your children to read and write.
- Keep books and other reading materials where children can reach them. Add new books often.
- Keep writing materials such as washable, nontoxic crayons and markers, paints and brushes, and different kinds of paper where your children can reach them.
- Take books and writing materials for your children with you whenever you leave home, so that they can read or write at the doctor's office, on the bus, and in the car.
- Show your children how you read and write every day to have fun and to get things done.
- Point out to your children the printed words in your home and in the community.
- Encourage your children to do things for themselves when they are ready. Let them feed and dress themselves, and clean up after themselves even if these tasks take more time and are not done perfectly.
Many children are early readers because they have learned from their families that reading and writing are worthwhile and useful activities.
The ideas for one age group may also work for a younger or older child. Using what you know about your child's skills and interests can help you decide which activities to use.
- Children learn about language when their families:
- Listen and talk with their children a lot
- Read out loud to their children every day
- Keep reading and writing materials where children can reach them on their own
- Show children how they use reading and writing to learn, have fun, and get jobs done