Children's Reading Resource | Pre-K - 3rd Grade | Home Reading Helper | Read Charlotte
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Get your child ready for literacy in Kindergarten through simple everyday activities and play!

Kids can learn valuable skills through small, teachable moments during a normal day. This means no grueling work sessions with flash cards, buying expensive educational toys, or completing tedious worksheets!

Experts agree that children must have repeated exposure to “pre-literacy” activities to build their skills and enable them to become successful future readers. These skills set the stage for reading:  (1) print awareness, (2) phonemic awareness, (3) vocabulary, (4) writing, and (5) oral language and comprehension.

Here are effective ways to sneak in literacy skills anywhere you go to give your child a head start for school:

Connection to Reading

Young children usually begin their first attempts at writing in Pre-K. These beginning writing skills are future predictors of reading and writing success. Children must be given daily writing opportunities to help strengthen the tiny muscles in their hand and provide a chance to draw, scribble and express themselves.

Activities

Children's Reading Resource | Pre-K - 3rd Grade | Home Reading Helper

HOME ACTIVITIES

Practice the Pencil Grip

Kids usually move from holding crayons in the palm of their hand to write to grasping the crayon with their fingers and moving their whole arm to color. We want to help them transition into gripping the pencil between their fingers and having their fingers do the writing just like adults do.

Try the Pinch and Grip Method to create a proper pencil grasp:

  • Aim the pencil: Have your child place the pencil in front of them on the table with the sharp tip of the pencil pointing towards them.
  • Pinch it: Next pick up their pencil with their thumb and index finger.  
  • Flip it: Then, gently push the pencil so it flips around and rests on their hand.  
  • The thumb is bent and moving, the pencil resting on the joint of the middle finger and index finger, which is bent and moveable. The ring and little fingers curl softly into the palm, giving the hand stability. It is okay if they use their thumb and three fingers to grasp the pencil, too.
  • You can fold a small paper napkin for your child to hold in the palm of their writing hand to remind them where their fingers should be curled.
  • Use their non-writing hand as “the helper hand” that holds the paper in place while they write.

You should see space in the arch of their hand that looks like an “o”. For children who don’t know where to place their hand on the pencil, you can wrap a small rubber band around the pencil about an inch and a half (1.5 inch) from the tip of the pencil to remind them where to “pinch”.

My Helping Hand

Teach children that they have one hand they use for writing and the other hand is for “helping”. The “helping hand” holds the paper by keeping it steady on the table so they can write and color without the paper moving.

Fun Letter Writing

Pour some rice, cornmeal or salt on a plate. Have your child write the letters of their name in it. Show them a piece of paper with their name written clearly, so they can see how the letters are formed. Write in capital letters, which are easier for younger children to form. Start with writing one letter.

Bath Time Writing

During bath time, squirt shaving cream on the tiles and smooth it out. Have them form letters using their index finger. You may want to demonstrate writing the letter first, describe what you’re doing.

“I’m drawing the capital letter E. A big line down, then three little lines across. Capital E is the first letter in your name – Elijah”.

Start with writing the first letter in their name. Make sure you show them their name written clearly on a note card or piece of paper so they can see and copy how the letters are formed.

Each week try working on a writing different family member’s first letter in their name. If your child is doing this easily, move on to writing the full name!

Trace Letters at ABCYa.com, a free educational website for kids

Letter and Number Tracing

(Note: Kids can access all games for this website from a home computer for free, however the app for phones and tablets costs a monthly fee. The Charlotte-Mecklenburg library has ABCYa.com on all computers, at all branch locations for kids to use.)

My Writing Kit

Instill a love of writing by giving your child their very own writing tools. This could be a basket of blank paper, a coloring book and crayons, or washable markers to write and draw with. If they have older siblings, make sure to distinguish that this is their own special basket.

Paint Chalk Letters

Write a letter in sidewalk chalk on the ground and let your child paint over it with a thick paintbrush dipped in water. They’ll love seeing the chalk turn to paint! Or, just let them draw with the chalk. Anything they scribble is excellent practice for writing!

Name Bags

Using a plastic baggie and magnetic letters, put the letters of your child’s name in the baggie. Have them pull the letters out of the bag and arrange them to spell their name.

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Children's Reading Resource | Pre-K - 3rd Grade | Home Reading Helper

GAMES

Learn to Write the Alphabet online with

Interactive Handwriting Practice

Trace Letters at ABCYa.com, a free educational website for kids

Letter and Number Tracing

(Note: Kids can access all games for this website from a home computer for free, however the app for phones and tablets costs a monthly fee. The Charlotte-Mecklenburg library has ABCYa.com on all computers, at all branch locations for kids to use.)

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