Back to school: kick-start your kid’s love of literacy
Working out how to kick-start your kid’s love of literacy can be transformative, for all of you.
It’s important to remember that literacy isn’t only about books and handwriting. It’s also about drawing, storytelling, learning songs and playing games- and more! Anything that fosters your child’s love of reading and writing can have huge benefits.
- Start reading aloud very early. Building it into your child’s bedtime routine from when they’re a baby is ideal. As they grow, encourage them to tell you their favourite stories in their own words.
- Take stories further: Talk about what happens in stories- ask questions and discuss characters, settings and events.
- Talk about your day: Articulating thoughts and feelings is an important part of confident literacy. Be sure to make some time to ask your kids questions about their day, and to share stories with them about yours.
Everyday reading and writing
- Reading and writing in context: Show the kids all the daily applications of writing that you can. This might be the words on the back of the cereal box or a street sign. Talk them through how you are using reading and writing, such as when you text or read instructions for a game.
- Write to each other: Why not get into the habit of leaving each other notes and letters? A chalkboard with a silly morning greeting or a paper airplane hiding a secret message are always welcomed by kids (and by their parents!).
- Keep talking: The National Center for Improving Literacy stresses that if you use another language at home, you should continue to speak to and read to your child in that language as this will also help literacy learning in English.
You can never have too many books
- Get into libraries: Not only will you find the books you’re looking for but in their staff you will find a wealth of knowledge and advice.
- Borrow, buy and share: Give your kids access to as many different types of books as possible by a diverse range of writers. It will foster their love of reading whilst teaching them about the world. BookTrust has lots of excellent book recommendations.
For bigger kids
- Word games such as Scrabble, Boggle, Hangman and good old-fashioned word searches can provide lots of learning opportunities. And for all ages, amazing Story Cubes can nurture a love of storytelling.
- Exploring creative writing: Check out our expert blog post which includes loads of tips to get your kid writing creatively. And if they’re too young to get the sentences down themselves, they why not be their scribe as they tell you stories?
- Kick-start a love of literacy with Banjo Robinson: Banjo’s letters encourage independent reading, inquisitive listening and creative writing. Children all over the world love their cat pen pal, and parents are telling us that their literacy is improving too.
Family reading time- good for everyone!
One Banjo HQ parent gets the whole family to read their own books together for half an hour every evening. By reading alongside your child, you are modelling the joy of getting lost in a book whilst also having some quiet time together.
And, if you celebrate Christmas in your household, why not start the Icelandic tradition of Jolabokaflod at home too? Give each other books you love on Christmas Eve, then curl up together with cosy blankets and chocolate for a family reading session!
Reading and writing happily is amazing for your kid’s development and, feeling comfortable with both can unlock whole worlds of possibility. With any luck, you’ll enjoy it just as much as they do.