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I’d like some fun suggestions on ways to encourage my young child to read.
Playing with your child can be fun, and it’s one of the most important ways you can encourage his development. As your child’s first teacher, you are helping him develop literacy and social skills. You don’t need expensive toys, just your imagination and a willingness to play.
A recent study of 1- to 2-year-olds found that those who played with blocks with their parents for 20 minutes a day scored 15 percent higher on language-development tests and were 80 percent less likely to watch television. Letters and words are made up of shapes. The more a child plays with the shapes found in blocks, play dough, and other materials, the better able he or she will be to understand the shapes of letters and words. Below are some activities and book titles to get you started:
Cereal Box Blocks
Use empty cereal and food boxes by stuffing them with newspaper and taping the flaps closed. Line them up like dominoes to knock down or build a tower. Talk about the pictures and letters on the boxes. Make up a story.
Book pairing: Not a Box by Antoinette Portis
Let’s Go Shopping
Use those empty food boxes to set up a grocery store with children who are ready for pretend play. Get shopping bags or baskets, play money, and a shoebox for a cash register. Make a shopping list with your child. Take turns being the cashier or customer.
Book pairing: Feast for 10 by Cathryn Falwell
Edible Play Dough
Mix one part flour, two parts oatmeal, and one part water in a bowl. Give your child a small bit of dough to explore. Add some utensils, measuring spoons, cups, bowls, and jar lids. Use cookie cutters to make shapes or shape them by hand.
Book pairing: Clay Boy by Mirra Ginsburg, Joseph A. Smith, illustrator
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