To most parents, reading with your child means reading a storybook together. Yet there are many other opportunities to share reading. Here are 10 short reading activities you can find time for:
1. Shop names: How many shop names can your child can read or recognize? Don't worry if your child uses clues such as colour, logos or items in the shop window. You should encourage this.
2. Street names: Ask your child if he can read the name of the street in which you live. If he can read or guess, congratulate him and say, “Shall we see if we can read the other street names on the way to school/town etc. " Although the child may be guessing, he will be thrilled to be able to ‘read’ the street signs.
3. Street and road signs: Look for these as you walk or travel and ask questions. For example point at the speed limit sign and ask, “What number is that?" or “Why do you think that circle has 30 in it?"
4. Word search: How many times you can find the word, ‘school’ , ‘street’ or ‘road’ as you walk or travel? (substitute any words relevant to your route. )
5. Number search: Find and read numbers on houses, shops and other buildings.
6. Shopping list: Write a simple shopping list for your child. Add pictures if necessary. Use this shopping list to buy items. Compare the word on the list with that on the tin or label.
7. Aisle Signs: Most grocery stores now have signs above the aisles. Say to your child, “I need coffee" (or any other item), and ask where you will find it, looking for the correct aisle sign.
8. Menus: Many child-friendly cafes, pubs and restaurants have special menus for children. Some even have pictures to help the child choose themselves. Encourage your child to read and choose his meal. You could even make menus together at home.
9. Recipes: Look for recipe books with series of pictures and/or simple instructions. Some children's cake and cookie mix boxes also have these. Your child can point to each picture, ‘reading’ and following the instructions.
10. Label game: Label objects around a room or on a table. Read these labels with your child. Then remove the labels and see how many the child can match to their object.
All these everyday activities make time you spend together fun and educational. So try them out. It's not everyday you get the chance to do that. Or is it?
Dorothy Massey is the author of Better English published by Studymates and the Ghost Twin Tales: Mini Mysteries and Kooky Spookies, a Pinestein Press anthology. An expert in literacy for adults and children, she writes quality educational materials and children's fiction. To find out more about Dorothy and writing for children in the UK, visit Dorothy's blog: http://www.kidsbooksuk.blogspot.com