“Use your words,” is a common refrain for teachers and parents trying to work with a child. But what if the child doesn’t have the right words? How can they express themselves if they don’t have the tools to do so?
Language proficiency at age 5 is the best indicator of reading proficiency at age 7. Reading proficiency at age 7 is the best indicator of high school graduation. This is regardless of poverty or parental education status.
In Georgia, 37% of 4th graders are reading below the National average for reading achievement.
The good news is that we do not need fancy programs or expensive interventions. All of us have the tools necessary to help kids get the language tools they need.
#1 Talk to children
#2 Read to children 15 minutes a day
Investing in your child’s health and well-being at home can promote positive outcomes for learning to read, kindergarten readiness, and psychological health. Here we expand on a few recommendations that were provided by the Mayo Clinic for parents to promote kindergarten readiness for their children.
Step 1: Read Together
Shared reading between parent and child using described as a catalyst from brain growth during child development. Parent and child shared reading has been shown to be associated with brain activation in regions that support vocabulary knowledge and visual imagery as a child is listening to stories. Shared reading builds language and cognitive skills that are important for future reading ability!
- How to Find 15 Minutes a Day
- Making Reading Fun
- Bookmarks to Print and Distribute
- Tips by Age Group
- Reading Milestones
- List of Diverse Books
Books Read Aloud
- Fulton County Library System YouTube Channel
- Get Georgia Reading Storytellers Series
- Leap Year Fellows reading stories (and comprehension quizzes)
- Storytime Anytime YouTube Channel
Get an e-Library Card from GA Public Libraries
Step 2: Engage in Learning
Libraries offer educational programs and services that support childhood literacy development. Virtual museums allow children to learn about ancient civilizations and art with a click of a button! National Geographic Kids also encourages children to learn about the world’s animals through cool videos and games!
Step 3: Get Moving
Physical activity for 60 minutes per day can build stronger muscles and bones and reduce likelihood of poor mental health or disease. Physical activity could include doing jumping jacks or dancing to your favorite song with your loved-ones in the living room! Make it fun and exciting for everyone!
Step 4: Establish a Routine
Family routines has been shown to be linked to social and academic success for developing children. Implementing a schedule for eating, sleeping, physical activity, and down-time can be important for your child’s every day wellness. Routines can be fun and it’s okay to deviate from your schedule. Life is all about being flexible!
Step 5: Enroll Your Child in Pre-K
The Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL) works to address early education needs for children and their families in Georgia. They provide Pre-K programs, Georgia Childcare and Parent services (CAPS) and much more!