• Here are some things you can do at the Kindergarten level to help your child become a successful reader:

    Build Background Knowledge-This refers to the knowledge your child already has about the information being read or that can be applied to the information being read. 

    A few ideas to work with your child on this are included below.

    1.  Categorize words and objects – strawberries, apples, bananas

    2.  Compare and contrast everyday objects – How are apples and bananas the same?  What is different about them?

    3.  Talk about different experiences you have with your child – hikes, trips, etc.


    Vocabulary Knowledge - A child's vocabulary consists of all of the words they know.  When thinking about your child's vocabulary, think of it in terms of these characteristics:

    1.  How many words does your child know?

    2.  How much knowledge does your child have about the words he/she knows? Can they use the words appropriately in a sentence?

    Ways to support increasing your child’s vocabulary knowledge include: 

    1.  Use “grown-up words” in normal conversation.

    2.  Talk about new words as you read.

    3.  Relate words to real life experiences. Make them meaningful and make connections with new vocabulary.


    Language Structures-This includes syntax and semantics, or your child’s knowledge of how to construct a sentence with proper grammar and meaning.  Syntax involves the rules of constructing phrases and sentences in a language.  Think about the different aspects of sentences and phrases: nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, prepositional phrases, etc. and how they are arranged to interact together and form an appropriate sentence or phrase. 
    Here's an example of a sentence with good syntax: "My Mom is a nice lady." 
    Now here's one with problems with syntax: "Mom make cake". This sentence is missing a verb (like "is") and there is trouble with tense and agreement ("make cake" could be "is making cake" or "makes cake". It is common for children to use syntax inappropriately while they are still learning up until around the age of 6.


    Literacy Knowledge-This includes your child understanding print concepts. 

    Ideas to support concepts of print include:

    1.  Point out the differences between letters, words, and sentences. 

    2.  Discuss book parts – front, back, direction we read, title, how to hold a book.


    Word Recognition:

    Phonological Awareness-This refers to the amount of awareness your child has of the sound form of language.  This includes their knowledge of how sounds make ups words including syllables, and rhyming words and individual sounds in a word. 

    Ways to support phonological awareness include:  

    1.  Help your child think of a number of words that start with the /m/ or /ch/ sound, or other beginning sounds.

    2.  Make up silly sentences with words that begin with the same sound, such as "Nobody was nice to Nancy's neighbor".

    3.  Play simple rhyming or blending games with your child, such as taking turns coming up with words that rhyme (go – no)                                                       or blending simple words (/d/, /o/, /g/ = dog).

    4.  Read books with rhymes. Teach your child rhymes, short poems, and songs.

    5.  Practice the alphabet by pointing out letters wherever you see them and by reading alphabet books.

    6.  Teach the alphabet, especially the letters in your child’s name.  Talk about letter and sounds anywhere you see print.

    7.  Focus children’s attention on the beginning sounds in words by finding pictures and objects that begin with the same sound (ball, boy, baby)


    DecodingThis includes your child’s understanding of the alphabetic principle, that is that each letter of the alphabet represents a sound, and those letters are put together to form words.  A good knowledge base about the sounds that letters make can help children to sound out or decode the meaning of unfamiliar words.  Children can use their knowledge of sound patterns and letter combinations when trying to decode. 

    Ways you can help with decoding are included: 

    1.  Help your child learn the letters and sounds of the alphabet.

    2.  Encourage your child to write and spell notes and create cards.

    3.  Build simple 2-letter or 3-letter words that your child can blend the sounds


    Sight Recognition-Some words may be considered "sight words" for your child, which they easily recognize when reading without having to attempt to decode for meaning or pronunciation.  These words may include "the", "who", and "what". Sight words typically result from seeing the words frequently in text. Over time, with more exposure to reading materials and practice, many or most words become sight words for skilled readers.

    You can help your child develop a strong sight recognition base by doing the following:

    1.  Flash cards - put your child’s sight words on cards

    2.  Sight Word Games to play - memory, word-o (bingo with words),

    3.  Repeated reading of sight word lists


    Some Online Resources: