Thursday, September 3, 2009

Author of Moving Through All Seven Days, Kathy Stemke shares some her knowledge with us today.

15 Key to Unlocking the World of Reading to Children
by Kathy Stemke

There's nothing quite like seeing a child's eyes light up with joy because he has finally read his first word. Having fun with language is the key you need to unlock the world of reading to your child. The following tips and activities will be the keys you need to make reading fun for your child. Try them and see what works for you and your child.

1. Make reading a habit. Give your child lots of opportunities to read. Bring a book with you wherever you go. They can read in the car, or waiting in the doctor's office. Make a ritual of reading at bedtime.

2. Play a rhyming game with a puppet. Have the puppet say, "My name is Mark. Can you find words that rhyme with Mark?" If the answer is yes, jump up and down, and if the answer is no, squat down low. "Does park rhyme with Mark? Does ball rhyme with Mark?"

3. Trace letters and say their sounds. Involving the senses of touch, sight, and speech is a powerful tool for learning letter sounds. Use a finger to trace a letter while saying the letter sound. Do this on a paper, in a sandbox, or on a plate filled with sugar.

4. Play sound matching games. Using a set of alphabet letters, have your child pick the letter that matches the sound you make. Start with five letters and add more letters when your child is ready.

5. Pick books that are the right difficulty level for your child. If the book is too difficult, your child will become frustrated and upset. The aim is to give your child many successful reading experiences. Have fiction and non-fiction books available.

6. Have your child watch your lips to see how you make certain sounds. You can ask, "Can you see my tongue touch my teeth when I say (th)? Does it tickle your tongue?"

7. Play sight word concentration games. Make two sets of common sight words, and have them hunt for pairs. If they can read the word, it goes in their pile.

8. Point out words all around the town such as traffic signs, grocery signs, or advertising signs.

9. Gently correct your young reader only when the meaning of the story is lost.
10. Say silly tongue twisters, songs and rhymes. This will help kids become sensitive to the different sounds found in words.

11. While you read aloud, use musical instruments to create suspense, happiness or sadness. This can bring a story to life and keep your child engaged. Your child can even make simple shakers with beans or rice inside a can, and join in the music making activity.

12. Create the atmosphere you find in the book. For example, use a poster board to build a rocket if the book is about outer space. When you read aloud, read with expression and proper phrasing.

13. Have the children act out what you read. If the character walks to the store, they should be able to walk in place as they reach a door and open it and grab some groceries. This should be fun and can help on those days it's raining out and their energy levels are high.

14. Use a prop bag to illustrate parts of the story. If you're reading, "Miss Spider's Tea Party," you might pull the following items out of the bag: rubber bugs, a tea cup, silk butterflies, or a handkerchief to wipe the spider's tears away.

15. Do a fun activity that relates to the book in some way. For instance, if the book is about a tall person, make your own stilts using metal cans. Punch two holes on either side of each can, near the bottom. Measure a piece of rope so it is the appropriate length for children. Thread one end of the rope into each hole and secure with a knot. To walk on stilts, children stand on the cans, holding the rope in their hands. (Verify that the edge of the can is not sharp, and add masking tape for extra protection.)

If you read a book about lions or the circus, you can have your child jump through a hoop like a lion at the circus. This activity may be done indoors or outdoors. Add words of encouragement such as, "Come, my beautiful lions!" Continue raising the hoop higher for a greater challenge. You can also alternate between a high and low hoop.

Reading must be fun! With activities like these you can inspire your child to practice every day. The more kids see and work with words, the more they are able to effortlessly decode them. Be patient and encourage them. This will give them the desire and confidence to continue to learn, and soon they will be hooked on reading.

Learn more about Kathy from her interview Meet Kathy Stemke.

Kathy's blog

VBT Writers on the Move begins a new feature to the VBT: Writers on the Move Mystery Site Give-away. Each month, the winner will have the choice of receiving the Mystery Site Host's book or a guest spot on VBT Writers on the Move web site. If you're an author and looking for visibility, this is a wonderful opportunity. But, it's going to be a tough choice; our members have great books to offer.

REMEMBER, you can't win if you don't play the game, so please stop by our members' sites during the tour and leave a comment.

The full rotation can be found on September VBT Schedule.



Karen and Robyn - Writing for Children said...

Wow, what great tips for getting young ones interested in reading. I love the tip about having little ones trace the letters.

My grandson is 3 and I'll be using these tips to get him into learning and reading.

Oh, Kathy's book is fantastic for kids. Kids love moving - learning while moving is just a natural progression.

Thanks for a great post, Vivian,


Deborah Weed said...

Hi Kathy,
These are all wonderful tips. It really gives parents incentive to do more than just read your book. They can have an entire play date together! Great idea!

Katie Hines said...

Great tips. I've saved this because my grandson is at the place of reading board books, so these are appropriate for us now!

Carolyn Howard-Johnson said...

Kathy, I think you should offer this near article to Terry at TheReadingTub. She has a nice review/charity site going. Who knows? She might be able to use it. Feel free to use my name.

Carolyn Howard-Johnson
Blogging at Writer's Digest 101 Best Websites pick

Denise said...

Thanks for the great info. Another great way to expose children to sight words is playing a board game.

Er-u-di-tion helps children learn to read, spell and understand the most common words in the English language while playing an entertaining game.

For additional information, please visit our website.

Anonymous said...

Excellent tips, Kathy. I have two young 'uns and I'm always looking for better ways to teach them while reading stories. Best wishes for your continued success.

Stephen Tremp

madcapmaggie said...

Kathy, great suggestions -- I really could have used these when my kids were little. Two of three had trouble learning to read.

I can vouch for the fact that relatively small investment in time can pay back bigtime in reading improvements.

Margaret Fieland

The Old Silly said...

This is a marvelous post with some wonderful suggestions. I'll use some of them with my Grandkids, for sure. Thanks!

Marvin D Wilson

N A Sharpe said...

Great tips for getting kids interested in reading. Reading can open so many doors in your own creative mind - I love watching a kids get caught up in a book. It stimulates their imaginations. I'll definitely stop over and check out Kathy's site! By the way Vivian, there's a blog award for you today over on my site. Stop by if you get a chance!

Nancy, from Realms of Thought…

kathy stemke said...

Thanks one and all for the great comments. I'll check out The Reading Tub, Carolyn. I have lots of articles similar to this one.

Vivian Zabel said...

I enjoyed having you as the guest on my blog this week, Kathy. You're interesting and knowledgeable.

Please come back again. This was fun.

kathy stemke said...

Thank you , Vivian for being a thoughtful host. The posts were excellent! I had fun, too.