Building Language Arts Skills
Tips for Parents
- Using the basic format of one of the stories you read, write a storytogether with your child. You write the first few lines or paragraph, have yourchild write the second few lines or paragraph, and so on. This could be along-term project that gives you a look at your child's understanding of storysequence and word meanings; it also encourages your child to write creatively.
Read newspaper headlines together and try to figure out what the story isabout. This will help make the newspaper important to your child, as well asprovide reading practice.
Keep adding new words to your conversations. This is one means of expandingyour child's language base.
It is important that children know the names of objects in theirenvironment; this is a base for future learning. You can gain insight into whatyour child knows by playing games. You might look at a photograph orillustration and say, "Let's find all the pine trees, birch trees, watertowers, skyscrapers, grain elevators, movie theaters, " and so on.
Give each other words, with the idea that you are to make up a story aroundthe word. This is an interesting way to see what words your child is learningand how he or she understands them.
Committing things to memory is a good exercise for the early years. Each ofyou memorize a poem or story to tell to the other.
Play games based on words. For example, say, "I can visualizesomething that is blue and white and round and is in the living room. What isit?" You and your child take turns. Keep adding variables -- size,substance, or use -- to the descriptions.
As you read a story to your child, occasionally ask, "What does thatremind you of? What do you see in your mind?" Mental images are importantto ongoing learning. You and your child might even try sketching the images.
Folktales and myths are typically part of the third-grade curriculum. Seewhat your child knows about Robin Hood, Johnny Appleseed, Paul Bunyan, KingArthur, Brer Rabbit, Zeus, Apollo, or Prometheus. Read folktales and myths toeach other.
Read signs together as you go for walks: stop signs, street names, productsigns, billboards, and the names on cars, trucks, and buildings.
Reprinted from 101 Educational Conversations with Your 3rd Grader by Vito Perrone, published by Chelsea House Publishers.
Copyright 1994 by Chelsea House Publishers, a division of Main Line Book Co. All rights reserved.