Helping Your Child Become a Reader - Part 13

Helping Your Child Become a Reader - Part 13

Family Stories


For children ages 3 to 6

Telling family stories lets your child know about the people who are important to him. They also give him an idea of how one thing leads to another in a story.


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.
Tell your child stories about your parents and grandparents or about others who are special to you and your family. You might put these stories in a book and add old photographs.
Think out loud about when you were little. Make a story out of something that happened, such as a family trip, a birthday party, or when you lost your first tooth.
Have your child tell you stories about what he did on special days, such as holidays, birthdays, and family vacations.
If you go on a trip, write a trip journal with your child to make a new family story. Take photographs of special events. Writing down special events and pasting photographs of the events in the journal will tie the family story to a written history. You can also include everyday trips, such as going to the grocery store or the park.
The storyteller’s voice helps your child to hear the sounds of words and how they are put together to make meaning.

Write On!


For children ages 3 to 6

Reading and writing support each other. The more your child does of each, the better she will be at both.

What You Need

Pencils, crayons, or markers
Yarn or ribbon
Writing paper or notebook
Cardboard or heavy paper
Construction paper
Safety scissors
What to Do

The first activities in the list below work well with younger children. As your child grows older, the later activities let her do more. But keep doing the first ones as long as she enjoys them.
Write with your child. She will learn a lot about writing by watching you write. Talk with her about your writing so that she begins to understand that writing means something and has many uses.
Have your preschooler use her way of writing—perhaps just a scribble—to sign birthday cards or make lists.
Hang a family message board in the kitchen. Offer to write notes there for your child. Be sure that she finds notes left there for her.
Ask your preschooler to tell you simple stories as you write them down. Question her if you don’t understand something.
Encourage your preschooler to write her name and practice writing it with her. Remember, at first she may use only the first letter or two of her name.
Help your child write notes or e-mails to relatives and friends to thank them for gifts or to share her thoughts. Encourage the relatives and friends to answer your child.
When she is in kindergarten, your child will begin to write words the way that she hears them. For example, she might write haf for have, frn for friend, and Frd for Fred. Ask her to read her writing to you. Don’t be concerned with correct spelling. She will learn that later.
As your child gets older, she can begin to write or tell you longer stories. Ask questions that will help her organize the stories. Answer questions about alphabet letters and spelling.
Turn your child’s writing into books. Paste her drawings and writings on pieces of construction paper. For each book, make a cover out of heavier paper or cardboard, then add special art, a title, and her name as author. Punch holes in the pages and cover and bind the book together with yarn or ribbon.
When a child is just beginning, she tries different ways to write and spell. Our job as parents is to encourage our children’s writing so they will enjoy putting their thoughts and ideas on paper. Provide them with spelling help when they ask for it.


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