As much as I want my boys to LOVE books as much as I do, it hasn’t happened yet. I love to be real with my readers and although I have read to my kids since they were in utero, they choose other things to do most of the time, but NEVER turn down an awesome book when I present it! I go with what works for us and I never push them.
Now that I have a Kindergarten child and a fifth grader, the literature selections are increasingly different on many levels. My Kindergarten student is learning his sight words and learning how to recognize them within a literature selection while my fifth grader and I are reading texts together so that he can have a better understanding of them.
What works best for us in literacy while bringing us together as a family, is that I carry the sight words with us wherever we go. I carry them on a ring in my purse and my Kindergarten student practices in the car and both short and long road trips. I also ask him to provide a sentence with the word so that I can hear him use the word in context. By the end of the week, he has mastered the sight words and we work on including them in our readings that we do together. They are not taught in isolation but applied to real life reading.
With my fifth grader, he is just now finishing up Night of The SpadeFoot Toads by Bill Harley and we read the whole thing together. With his next chapter book, I preordered the selection to get a head start on the reading myself so that I can have a better understanding of what he is diving into before we begin. We can have rich discussions based on this literacy selection and I, in turn, can model how important literacy truly is by doing lots of reading myself.
Literacy should definitely be a family initiative for we are our children’s first role model. Although I model for them that I adore reading and writing, they have not yet reached that REAL love yet. However, they appreciate me reading to them and have their favorite pieces of literature to read from their favorite authors which is a great start in my eyes.
As a Latino family, we add a bicultural element to our reading experience. Having our children read books written in English and in Spanish is a wonderful way for our kids to become even more aware of their culture and our languages. Celebrating literacy can be as easy as identifying printed materials within our lives every day, reading with our children as much as we can, identifying letter sounds and words while on the go….literacy is everywhere, and even better when it is done as a familia!
Care to share: How do you make literacy a priority in your home?