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Every day, your child should be learning more sight words. By the end of Kindergarten, your child should be able to read 50 sight words, and usually the words are assigned by clusters, building vocabulary throughout the year. While reading aloud to your child, make it a challenge to find his/her sight words. Start with just one page. Any more that one page will cause your child to lose trace of the story. Before you read, have your child look over a page to see if they can find the “mystery” sight word. When they have found it, you can read the story but your child must listen closely for the sight word to appear in the story again.
Another sight word activity is to find an article that has one sight word multiple times that your child knows (any more than that will become overwhelming). Clip the article out and if necessary, scan it to your computer and print an enlarged version of it (unless you have access to a copy machine). Have your child take a highlighter and highlight that word every time he/she finds it in the article. Cut several of these pages and put those in your carry along bag for extra activities your darling can do while on trips, at the doctor’s office, etc.
Purchase some word magnets and have your child make simple sentences on the refrigerator, or with letter magnets, have them make their spelling and/or sight words on the refrigerator. You could also have strips of pre-cut words on paper for them to sit down with and try to put together the simple sentences, such as, “I went to the zoo.” You could possibly make a whole story out of this. Prior to them putting the sentences together, make sure you let them see the sentences before you scramble the words. This is teaching your child sentence structure and early word usage skills.
When your child is learning letters and sounds, you could purchase or make alphabet cards, use letter magnets, or letter tiles with a jar. When you review the letters every day, pull out a letter and ask your child to write or say a few words that begin with that letter and/or sound. If you choose to have him/her write the words, you will notice if there is a difference between being able to call out the letters and sounds and being ready to carry over the information into his/her work.
Teaching writing is best done by example. Your children need to see your writing and understand that writing is an important means of communication. When you write a letter, have them write one. When you write a list, have them make their own list. When you address an envelope, have them address one of their own too. Show them how to write a story by writing about something that has happened recently. As you are demonstrating this, talk about what you are thinking. Teachers usually do this on a large chart in front of the classroom, so make sure when you are doing this at home, you are writing large enough for your child to see. Make a habit of writing messages to your child. Whether you post it on the refrigerator door, in their lunchbox, or with lipstick or soap on the mirror, write something every morning. It could either be an “I love you” message or, “I liked the way you made your bed today! Love, Mom.” This not only encourages the art of written communication, but creates a stronger bond between you and your children every day.