School Years: Learning and Practicing Literacy Skills
Early school experiences should be built on the solid foundation of early literacy skills that a child has already acquired, and should also help develop the ability to pay attention for increasingly long periods of time and build and access memory systems.
Reading is NOT a natural activity, even though it is crucial for success in our society. Reading skills need to be developed, reinforced, and practiced! Once a child has "broken the code" and can successfully decode written language, a great deal of practice is necessary to attain fluency and build vocabulary.
Children still struggling as they enter second grade need assessment and intervention to determine how they can be helped. As children move into third grade and beyond, their ability to read well will have a greater and greater impact on other aspects of their school experiences.
Even though we may depend on teachers and schools to provide a formal education for our children, adults need to remember that they play a critical role! The good news is that all of the above required skills, and other concepts that are important like counting, "pretend" writing, and recognizing colors, shapes, and patterns can be acquired using every day activities and opportunities. During this time, there are several things adults can do to help develop a child’s early literacy skills.
Talk, talk, talk!
Make time every day to spend some one-on-one time with each child. Find a quiet, private time - maybe while tucking into bed or waking up in the morning - to make eye contact and give your undivided attention.
Motivate and Energize
Building a brain is extremely energy consuming! Make sure your child has enough rest, appropriate nutrition, and adequate health care, as well as your emotional support, so he is not distracted from learning by physical and emotional issues.
Read With Your Child
Just because a child can read on his own doesn’t mean he no longer enjoys being read to. Especially for younger children, reading is hard work. They love being able to relax and just enjoy the story! Older children may not want to be read to any longer, but they will benefit greatly from discussing things with you that they’ve read, or having you share with them something you’ve read.
Programs and Activities
Ready to Learn
PBS project that helps children ages birth to age eight gain the skills, especially literacy, they need to be successful in school and life.
Read the Books
Recommended books -- all categories, all ages.
The mission of popular author Jon Scieszka's website is to motivate boys to read by connecting them with materials they will want to read, in ways they like to read.
James Patterson's website dedicated to making kids readers for life.
Reading activities and information for preschool and school-age children.
Make Learning Fun!
Prepare children for school and support them once they are there with this educational alternative to other entertainment choices for children.
A bilingual site for families and educators of English language learners, filled with information and activities.
Monthly Activity Calendar
A great resource for you to engage your child in activities that enhance their reading abilities every day.
Online, streaming video program featuring Screen Actors Guild members reading children's books aloud. Includes activities.
Educational web sites and games designed to stimulate creativity, learning, enjoyment, and imagination.
Helping Your Child Learn Mathematics
Activities for children in preschool through grade 5.
TITLE I HOPE: Homeless Outreach Program for Education
Making a difference for homeless children and youth in the Clark County School District.
Through safe shelter, support, advocacy, counseling and community education, this organization provides a comprehensive approach to working with families to stop abuse in the family environment.
HopeLink of Southern Nevada
Comprehensive assistance and referral services for families in critical need.
Nevada Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC)
WIC is a special supplemental nutrition program that serves income eligible pregnant, postpartum and breastfeeding women, infants, and children up to age 5 who are at nutrition risk.
Family And Child Treatment of Southern Nevada (FACT)
Providing counseling and services to children, adults and families to heal from the traumas of abuse, neglect and violence.
Southern Nevada Health District
Aimed at protecting and promoting the health, the environment, and the well-being of Southern Nevada residents and visitors.