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Helping your kindergartener crack the code of reading

Reading time is also a great time for snuggling.
Reading time is also a great time for snuggling.

Over the next four weeks, schools - public, private and parochial - will be reopening all over Virginia. Several thousand of those children will be kindergarteners who will be learning many things, but especially how to crack the code of reading. Contrary to popular belief, that is not just the school’s job; your child needs your help, too!

Point out what things are in the pictures

The goal is to make your child a confident and happy reader. You will find tips below which are paraphrased from These tips are geared for kindergarteners but can be used with anyone who is working to build their reading skills.

Communicate with your child. Ask your child to tell you about his school day. Encourage him to explain something they did, or a game they played during recess.

Say silly tongue twisters. Say silly tongue twisters, read rhyming books and sing songs with and around your child.. These help children become sensitive to the sounds in words.

Read and experience it. Connect what your child reads to what happens in life. If reading about animals, relate it to the zoo; if reading about vegetables, relate it to a farm; etc.

Use your child’s name. Point out the link between letters and sound. Say, “Jane, the word jump begins with the same sound as your name, Jane, jump. And they both begin with the same letter, J.”

Play rhyming games. Have a puppet or stuffed animal say, “My name is Mark. I like words that rhyme with my name. Does park rhyme with my name? Can you think of any other words that rhyme with my name? Does wall rhyme with Mark?”

Trace and say letters. Let your child use a finger to trace a letter while saying the letter’s sound. Do this on paper, in sand or on a plate of sugar.

Play sound games. Practice blending sounds into words. Ask “Can you guess what this word is? t – o – p.” Hold each sound longer than usual.

Read it over and over. Yes, it may be the 100th time you’ve read your child’s favorite book, but that’s okay. As you read, stop and ask your child what is happening in the book.

Discuss letters and sounds. Help your child learn the names of the letters and the sounds they make by turning it into a game. Say, “I’m thinking of a letter and it makes the sound mmmmm.

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