My 18-year-old daughter, Andria, was about six when she began reading fluently. One day, when my sister complimented her on her reading ability, Andria replied with a sigh, “Yes it’s opened up a whole new world to me!”My sister thought this statement was hilarious coming from a child, but I recognized it as one of the carrots I’d dangled before Andria as encouragement. And it’s true! A child’s world is forever expanded and enriched when he becomes a reader.
Parents can have a big impact on reading development. Children who read well come from homes where there are plenty of books, magazines, and newspapers and where everyone reads them. Children who read well have parents who encourage reading and make time for it.
But helping your child learn to read doesn’t only have to mean using books from the library or from the store. You can make a book of your own—a nonsense book!
What You Need:
- Ten or more index cards
- A small notebook
- Pencils, crayons, colored pencils, or markers
What You Do:
- Divide the cards into two sets. On each of the cards in the first set, write a sentence subject like Dad, Justin, The cat, The Hat, and so on. On each card in the other set, write a predicate like has a bath, is tired, has a bib, is in bed, and so on. Write all the subjects in one color, and all the predicates in a different color. This will make the cards easier to use.
- Now let the fun begin! Allow your child to pick a subject card and a predicate card. Then have them join the two cards to form a sentence, for example: The hat has a bib or The cat is in bed. Your child can read the sentence aloud, or you can read the sentence for him.
- If you’ve got an emerging writer on your hands, have her practice her printing by writing the sentence at the bottom of one page of the notebook.(If your child can’t write yet, you can write the sentence for her.) Now break out those markers and crayons! Let your child illustrate the sentence. Repeat this process several times until you have at least a half a dozen pages. Now read it aloud. You’ve made a nonsense book!
Adapted with permission from "The Preschooler's Busy Book" by Trish Kuffner (Meadowbrook Press, 1998)