Helping Your Child Become a Reader - Part 12

Helping Your Child Become a Reader - Part 12

Match My Sounds


For children ages 3 to 6

Listening for and saying sounds in words will help your child to learn that spoken words are made up of sounds, which gets him ready to match spoken sounds to written letters—an important first step toward becoming a reader.


What You Need

Books with nursery rhymes, tongue twisters, word games, or silly songs

What to Do

The first activities in the list below work well with younger children. As your child grows older, the later activities let him do more. But keep doing the first ones as long as he enjoys them.
Say your child’s name, then have him say words that begin with the same sound; for example: David—day, doll, dish; Jess—juice, jam, jar.
As you read a story or poem, ask your child to listen for and say the words that begin with the same sound. Then have him think of and say another word that begins with the sound.
Read or say a familiar nursery rhyme such as “Humpty, Dumpty.” Then have your child make it “Bumpty, Lumpty” or “Thumpty, Gumpty.”
Help your child to make up and say silly lines with lots of words that start with the same sound, such as, “Sister saw six silly snakes.”
Say two names for an animal, and tell your child to choose the name that begins with the same sound as the animal’s name. Ask, for example, should a horse’s name be Hank or Tank? Should a pig be Mattie or Patty? Should a zebra be Zap or Cap?
Helping children learn to pay attention to sounds in words can prevent reading problems later on.

Take a Bow!


For children ages 3 to 6

When your child acts out a poem or story, she shows her own understanding of what it is about. She also grows as a reader by connecting emotions with written words.

What You Need

Poems or stories written from a child’s point of view
Things to use in a child’s play (dress-up clothes, puppets)

What to Do

Read a poem slowly to your child. Read it with feeling, making the words seem important.
If your child has a poem she especially likes, ask her to act it out. Ask her to make a face to show the way the character in the poem is feeling. Making different faces adds emotion to the performer’s voice. After her performance, praise her for doing a good job.
Tell your child that the family would love to see her perform her poem. Set a time when everyone can be together. When your child finishes her performance, encourage her to take a bow as everyone claps and cheers loudly.
Encourage your child to make up her own play from a story that she has read or heard. Tell her that it can be make-believe or from real life. Help her to find or make things to go with the story—a pretend crown, stuffed animals, a broomstick, or whatever the story needs. Some of her friends or family also can help. You can write down the words or, if she is old enough, help her to write them. Then help her to stage the play for everyone to see!
Play acting helps a child learn that there are more and less important parts to a story. She also learns how one thing in a story follows another.






Adapted from U.S. Department of Education
Office of Intergovernmental and Interagency Affairs
Helping Your Child Become a Reader
Washington, D.C., 20202