I thought kindergarten was all about socialization. However that seems to have changed and learning to read seems to be a priority. What can I do at home to help my son succeed?

In addition to the homework assignments your son's teacher may give him, there are millions of ways in which you can foster your child’s literacy development. Here are a few examples of activities that parents of kindergarten and first grade students can utilize to support their child’s literacy development at home. 

 1)  Go to the library often and let your child pick the books that interest him and read together for at least 30 minutes a day.

 2)  Do a “picture walk” before you read a book.  Go through the pictures page by page and talk about what is probably happening in the story.  Use the illustrations in a book to help decode the text.  Discuss your child’s predictions as you follow up by reading together.  

 3)  Talk about the beginning, middle and ends of books you read as well as the characters and setting. 

 4)  Ask questions about books that you read aloud to see if your child comprehends.  Discuss and explain. 

 5)  Read lots of nursery rhymes (to help develop phonemic awareness) and predictable stories. 

 6)  Encourage your child to retell favorite stories to you using puppets or dolls. 

 7)  Help your child learn to identify letters and their sounds. 

 8)  Make flash cards of easy basic “sight words” (the, go, like, can, we, went, etc.)  and look for them in books.  

 9)  Make a game of reading environmental print (fast food restaurant names, grocery stores, food labels, gas station names, street signs, etc.).

 10)  Help your child label pictures with words that you sound out together. 

 11)  Write grocery lists together.

12)  Help your child make mini-story booklets.  Start by using three pieces of paper, one page each for the beginning, the middle and the end.