How to Encourage Language Development (Reading, Writing, Speaking)
Many of these activities can be done with your child while "on the run" - in the car, waiting in a doctor’s office, shopping, etc. Others require some quiet time. You may modify and adapt these activities in many ways, but the key is to listen to your child and encourage your child in communicating.
- Plan a daily reading time together. Take turns reading out loud to each other. This could be done at the dinner table with a family member reading something short such as a newspaper article, poem, nursery rhyme, or panel on a food mix box. Discuss what was read.
- Choose several stories to read at bedtime during the week. Talk about the characters in each, and at the end of the week discuss any similarities in the characters.
- Have available easy reading material, such as children’s books, magazines, and newspapers. Educators recommend good children’s magazines, such as Highlights, Penny Power, or World Geographic, that you might want to consider subscribing to. Don’t forget that these subscriptions make excellent gifts for your child from you or others.
- Let your child see you reading. It could be a book, TV Guide, sales brochure, or newspaper.
- Take your child to the library regularly. Check for special programs at the library such as puppet shows, readings, and exhibits. Librarians are good sources for providing suggestions for high-interest books at appropriate grade levels.
- Have your child close her eyes and describe the room she is in, or have your child describe a room for you to guess what room it is.
- Have your child tell as many words as he can when he thinks of a specific color.
- Have your child tell of five things she can do that her grandparents could not do.
- Point out colors, shapes, sizes and details wherever you go. Encourage your child to do the same. This is a good car activity.
- Help your child name foods, animals, plants, and other items in the environment.
- Encourage your child to plan and prepare simple foods, under your supervision. Recipe reading is fun and provides excellent practice in following written directions.
- Encourage your child to read road signs and license plates.
- Encourage your child to use sentences instead of pointing or using one or two words.
- Talk to your child about things he/she has seen, read, and experienced.
- Keep a calendar posted at home. Ask your child on a regular basis what day it is, date, month, year and his/her birthday.
- List all family members and put names in alphabetical order.
- When planning a trip, have your child help make travel plans by reading travel information, atlases, and maps together.
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