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The 5 Steps That Will Empower Your Child for School Success

Parents want to see their children do well in school, but often wonder how they can help. It's never too early to start teaching your children so that they are ready for reading and school, says Nell Secor. This episode will give you actionable tips to help your child learn to read and succeed as a learner.

Listen here:

About Nell

Nell Secor has a background in education. She studied elementary education and has a Masters degree in curriculum and instruction.

She loves books and literacy.

She has a second MS degree in library and information science.

American Library Association developed a program called every child ready to read- encouraging and educating parents and caregivers to help children be successful in reading and in school.

The number one message is that the parent is the child’s first and best caregiver

Nell has been a children’s librarian for 9 ½ years.

1. Read

Reading is the single most important activity to get children ready to read.

It does many wonderful things to prepare them for reading success.

Books bring in new words and vocabulary. The more words kids have, the more successful they will be later down the road. It helps to develop imagination, and concentration. Reading begins at birth; you don’t need to wait. Start reading to them when you’re holding them on day one!

Reading develops a wonderful bond with child and caregiver, by sitting beside each other. It helps on so many levels, academic and beyond.

Reading also helps to develop empathy.

2. Sing

Kids don’t care about your singing voice.

Just make noise and sing! This can include nursery rhymes that have a rhythmic beat.

There are many wonderful books that you can share with your child to start from.

Singing helps develop listening skills and it slows language down. It breaks the words into chunks, which will help them spell. Each syllable has a beat or even a note, so they will be able to spell and write easier when that time comes.

Songs also introduce new vocabulary that isn’t used in regular language.

3. Talk

Kids learn a lot about language by listening and by joining the conversation.

Even when kids are very young, it’s a great opportunity to talk to them about what you’re doing.

You can introduce colors or shapes. You can talk about what you’re doing, what you’re ordering from the drive through, or while you’re working in the kitchen. This is a way to introduce vocabulary.

Another opportunity to talk is when kids pick out books that are advanced and you aren’t; going to read all the words, you can still talk about the pictures that you see. This can really work well with nonfiction books. This makes it age appropriate regardless of the words on the page.

You don’t have to finish books if the kids aren’t interested or aren’t paying attention.

When kids have a larger vocabulary, they will be able to understand and decode words when reading later.

4. Play

Studies show that kids need free play time on a regular basis.

Kids are often overscheduled and they need free play to practice language and problem solving that they see around them.

Play lets them do that on their own and with their peers. When parents interact with them, they have stronger mental health and stronger interpersonal bonds.

Play can be very simple; parents can join in and play along. It’s a valuable practice.

5. Write

Writing begins with fine motor skills.

Holding, pulling, tugging, etc., helps them build up those fine motor skills to be able to write in the future. Crafts can help kids to prepare to write.

Parents and caregivers can put their child’s name on every paper, and they will start to recognize their own name.

You can write what your child says about their picture. They will start to understand how the words and the story go together.

There are many ways to incorporate writing by preparing for writing.

You are your child’s first and best teacher. Your contribution will help them be prepared for reading and school success.

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