- Read to your children! The number one thing you can do for your children to help them learn concepts about print is to read to them every day. A bedtime story is an excellent opportunity to read to your children. Make sure the book is interesting to your children. Ask them to predict what will happen in the book and guide their fingers along the words.
- Take advantage of everyday activities…like a trip to the grocery. Before going, have them help you dictate the grocery list to you and watch you as you write the words. Say the words out loud as you write them. When you get to the grocery store, read your list out-loud as you point to the words and point to the corresponding words on the products you are buying. This activity will help children understand the practical use of print in action. They will see that you write left to right just like you read left to right also.
- Make a book with your children. Very young children might like a book of familiar photographs with labels under each photo that a family member can read to him or her. Older children might like to illustrate the book by themselves. You could write the words as the children dictate the story. Then you and your children could read the book together, pointing to the words as you read.
- When you are out for dinner or lunch, show them the menu and whatever pictures may be on the menu. Read the menu to your children pointing to the words as you do. Let them help choose what to eat and have them point to it if they can remember which one it is. This activity will also help children realize how we use print in real life.
- Have your child sit next to you at a table and dictate thank you notes for holiday and birthday gifts. Together, write letters to friends and relatives.
- Give your child his or her own calendar. Record special events on the calendar. At the end of each day, talk about what your child did. Let him or her dictate what he or she wishes you to record for the day.
- Develop “to do” lists with your child. Let your child see that you begin at the top of a piece of paper, write from left to right and then return to the left for the next line. Say the words slowly as you write them. You can revisit your list occasionally and let your child cross off what you have completed