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Seven Steps to Developing Literacy

Parents are their child’s first teacher. There are many simple things you can do to ensure his reading and writing success.

Here are some easy suggestions to help you support your child’s literacy achievements:

  • Read to your young child every day. Include a variety of texts (fiction, nonfiction, poetry, etc.).
  • Don’t simplify words. Use those “SAT” words early on and often! Research supports that hearing higher level language, even though a child might not know its meaning at the time, is an indicator of advanced reading and comprehension.
  • Make sure your child sees you reading, as that subtly reinforces its importance.
  • Encourage her to use words she already knows to decode new words. Have her look for the “little words inside the big ones.” For example, if she encounters the word "animals," help her break it into small parts and decode an-i-mals. Use your finger or a small index card to hide parts of the word. Then, help her blend the little words into one big one.
  • When reading, stop and ask questions. When he correctly answers the question, go deeper. Ask him to go back to the text and find evidence to support his thoughts.
  • Encourage her to keep a “reader response” notebook. After reading a story together, have her draw or write answers to questions, such as "who is your favorite character in the story?" "Why?" :What is the setting of that story (city, farm, desert, ocean, etc.)?"
  • Help him make “self-to-text” connections to reading and writing. For example, after reading a story about animals at the zoo, talk about a time you visited the zoo. Discuss what personal experience was similar to the story, and what was different. Draw or write about a favorite zoo animal.


Using simple and easy ideas like these can help your child become a high-level reader and writer.

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