There are many practices you can start and habits you can encourage that will help your child’s language development. Even if they are an excellent reader or writer, there is always room for growth.
1) Word of the Day
Choose a word as a family challenge. See how many times you can use the word during the day and in how many different contexts. Talk about how you did around the dinner table. Having a fun challenge will help your student think about how they are using language throughout their day. It will also help them learn how to use words within context.
2) Reading Together
Reading is more fun when you have someone to talk about it with. Choose something to read that both you and your student would enjoy. Talk about it with your student as you go. The National College Transition Network suggests that helping a child make connections between their own experiences and and the text improves comprehension. Ask you child what they are learning, what relates to their own lives, and what experiences might connect to what you are reading. You may even choose to join a book club together. Discussion will help your student with comprehension and inspire more time spent reading.
3) Availability of Reading Materials
Make reading materials available in your home. Subscribe to magazines or newspapers that have informative articles about current events. Consider The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal, The Economist, or National Geographic. Try to find publications with well written articles that will pique you child’s interest. Exposing them to these types of articles will expand their vocabulary and familiarize them with different voices and styles of writing. An article can be read in a short time period, so it is often less daunting than reading an entire book.
4) Readers Theater
Many families enjoy movies and tv shows together, so why not reading? Instead of turning on the tv after dinner, take out a novel or a play. Pass the book around and read portions out loud, or each take a different role. You could even listen to an audiobook or a podcast. Reading together will help your child take time to read, and reading out loud will help your child interact with the language in a different way. Practicing reading with emotion and imagination will allow your child to delve into the text and develop connections and meaning.
5) Encourage Journaling
Journaling will help your student improve their writing skills. Simply writing thoughts or emotions about their day will help them articulate what is in their mind with written words. This practice is a low stress way of improving writing skills. Make journaling fun and enticing by helping your child choose a journal and pen they love.
Language skills, both writing and reading comprehension, are integral to your child’s success throughout life. Performing well on the SAT, writing admissions essays, and producing excellent work in college depend on your child’s ability to read and write. Choose a few of these methods to implement in your home to help your child excel.
Michael Romano has been offering his San Francisco ACT SAT prep services for almost two decades. He’s seen thousands of kids and helped with just about every kind of standardized testing anxiety a student could have. This has taught him that increased scores come down to confidence. Yes, you have to understand the material, but confidence is—more often than not—the #1 cause of a student’s trouble with testing. Bearing that in mind, he has created an SAT tutoring program that builds confidence by desensitizing his students to the conditions of the test, while providing them with targeted instruction on both the academic content of the exam and the tips and tricks that make it so much easier.