How Can You Help Your Child to Develop Literacy Skills at All Stages?
Early Years Literacy – Phonological Awareness and the Alphabet
The first stages of literacy are hearing and speaking. Words are made up of phonemes, small sounds put together to make meaning. Children need to be able to hear parts of a word and understand the sounds they are hearing, and be able to put them together to make words. We call this the phonological system.
Phonological System – The phonological system is the sound of language. It is what you hear. Phonological awareness means hearing the sounds in words. It is the realization that words are made up of sequences of sounds
Once children can hear the sounds in words, they can begin to associate the sounds with symbols in the alphabet. Start by helping them learn to recognize print in the environment around them, such as familiar signs (McDonald’s, Tim Horton’s, etc). Then help them recognize their own name and the letters in their name. From there, add familiar words like ‘mom’ and ‘dad’.
They will be on their way to developing strong early literacy skills!
Primary Literacy – Decoding and Comprehending Print
We are encouraging the use of strategies to solve literacy difficulties. Bring your child’s attention to his/her success when solving a problem or difficulty. Ask your child what strategy helped him/her to solve the problem. Ask your child what made him/her use that strategy.
Here are some COACHING strategies you can use:
- Good checking! How did you know it wasn’t ____?
- You said_____. Does that make sense?Does that look and sound right?
- What made you stop? What did you notice?
- What can you do to figure out that word?
- I liked the way you worked that out. Which strategy helped you that time?
- What word starts with the letter___ and would make sense?
- Can you sound it out using beginning sound and the picture clue to come up with a word that makes sense?
- You have tried one vowel sound. What is the other sound that this letter(s) make? Try the other sound. See if the word sounds right.
- Is there a chunk or rhyming part you recognize? How can that help you solve the word?
- Skip that word, read to the end of the sentence, then go back to the beginning and see if you can figure out the word that gave you trouble. Remember to think about what you are reading and what sounds right.
- I’ll give you a choice of 2 words. Which word do you think works? Which word makes the most sense?
Junior Literacy – Developing Fluency and Using Reading to Think
We want your child to think about what he/she is reading. We want your child to ask and answer higher level questions before, during and after reading. Your child needs to be actively involved in reading.
Here are some prompts you can use to expand comprehension and stretch your child’s thinking.
- Please interpret or summarize the story in a few sentences.
- Make a connection to your own life. What is something similar that has happened to you?
- If you were the main character what would you have done the same or differently? Tell me about your thinking.
- How did the character change from the beginning to the end of the story?
- What were the 3 main ideas in this story? Give me evidence from the story.
- What were the 3 main ideas in this non-fiction piece? Give me evidence from the text.
Intermediate Literacy – Using Reading Comprehension Strategies Fluently
Reading Comprehension Strategies
- Making Connections to their life, other texts and the world around them
- Inferring (reading between the lines)
Parents can use the Q-chart to develop questioning skills and other reading comprehension strategies in your child.
The questions in the upper left quadrant of the chart are questions requiring simple, fact-based answers.
(e.g., Question: Who is the main character? Answer: The main character is Sam.) There is one answer and the thinking is not complex.
The questions in the lower right quadrant are open-ended and require thought and interpretation.
(e.g., Question: Why might the hero have left home? Answer: Sam may have left home to find a job. In the story it says that the family is poor. They may not have had enough money to feed all their children.)
There could be several answers or interpretations but your child should provide evidence from the text to support his/her answer.