It all starts with a hunt. You know that speed limit sign your son gleefully points out each time you drive him to preschool, or that gas station sign your daughter easily recognizes? Well, you're going to use those words to your advantage, and create a book your kid can read all by herself.
What You Do:
- Start by telling your preschooler that you're going on a word hunt. Strap on your walking shoes, grab the camera, and go for a walk or drive through your neighborhood to take pictures of familiar signs. These can be street signs, road signs, advertisements, or logos. Also consider the words your child can read in your home: cereal boxes or other food packaging, family members’ names, names of stores on ads in the newspaper, book titles, and so on.
- Once you've gathered all those recognizable words together, print out the pictures or take them to get developed and glue each photo or word onto a half sheet of paper.
- Staple the pages together to make a simple book that your child can read independently.
- Since every book needs a cover, have your child decorate a piece of cardboard or card stock with the title “Words I Know” and be sure to have him list himself as the author. You can stop right there, or include an "About the Author" page complete with a photo of your child. Use your imagination and make sure to get your child involved!
- Look through the book together. In the beginning, your child will likely be using memorization to recall the words, but that won't always be the case. As confidence grows, ask your child to look at the letters in each word. Ask simple questions: What letter does that word begin with? What sound does that letter make? Can your kid think of any other words that start with that sound?
Soon, all those "Words I Know" will lead to new words. And just think, it all started with a few signs.
Samantha Harpring was a classroom teacher for 16 years and has spent the last several years writing curriculum. She is the mother of two energetic boys, ages 7 and 10.