September has arrived, and the feeling of fall is in the air. With the changing of the season comes the opportunity to put in place some back-to-school habits that can help your children build their literacy skills. Here are four practical ideas to help your family kick-off the school year.
1. Keep Up With a Reading Log
Many schools request children to read at home several times a week. Even if the school does not require daily reading, it’s still one of the best habits to put in place at home. Keeping a reading log will help your kids track the books they read. When your kids can look back and see how many books they read each month, it provides a sense of accomplishment. Writing down the titles or minutes read each day will also give your child a little extra handwriting practice. They might even give each book a star rating system and critique each book that is read.
2. Create a Nightly Reading Routine
When it comes to nighttime, many families with younger children like to follow the “Triple B Routine:” bath, books, and bed. Right before their bath time, have your children pick out two or three books they want to have read aloud that night. Once the books are done, it’s time for bed. If your kids don’t bathe right before bed, you can also choose books before dinner. For more tips on creating a routine focused away from screens, click here to read our article on children and technology use.
3. Have Dinnertime Discussions
Take advantage of your captive audience at the dinner table each night. Implement a no screens policy so distractions are limited, and ask stimulating questions. Here are some ideas yo get you started: What is the most interesting thing you learned today? What is one thing you were proud of today? What is something that you wished didn’t happen today? What are you most looking forward to tomorrow? Also be sure to ask them about what they’re reading in school!
Questions like these will help you learn about what successes and struggles your children experienced during the day, and the last prompt will help your child think ahead to a new day.
4. Plan Ahead
If you know that Wednesday nights are soccer practice and Thursday nights are piano lessons, plan ahead to squeeze in literacy learning. Your kids can listen to audiobooks in the car on the way to practice, or they can use an app to practice spelling words or learn new vocabulary while you drive–all habits that will help build literacy. If you still have a few minutes, ask your kids to tell you about the last book they read. Putting a few habits in place now will have your child feeling prepared and confident each time the school bell rings.
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