My pre-kindergartener just received her first take home assignment last week. Yes, I mean she actually had homework! I know there is a huge debate about whether homework is necessary or how much homework is too much, but I was actually pleased with her reading assignment which she had a full week to finish. If we weren’t so into early literacy, perhaps I would think otherwise, but you know reading is HUGE in our house.
The assignment was simple: read a provided sight word book and discuss the story with your parents.
I thought it was an appropriate task for a 4.5 year old and it’s something we do ourselves at home already. But instead of signing off the homework to attest that she did it, I had my daughter sign the sheet herself to get her used to accountability and responsibility for doing her own work.
How early did your child first start receiving homework? What was the assignment? Do you think it was appropriate?
If your school doesn’t give homework at such an early age or focus on early literacy skills, or if you just want to “extra-school” or “after school” your child at home at your own pace, here are a few things that have worked well for us.
10 Ways to Encourage Early Literacy at Home
*All Bookboard links are affiliate links.
- Read to your children (at least) every night before bed. It establishes a routine, familiarity, and fondness of books.
- Read. To yourself, that is. By watching you, your children will see reading as part of regular, daily life. It actually worked this morning when I was trying to get a few extra minutes to myself before officially starting the day as “Mommy”: instead of closing my book, I told the kids it was my reading time. They left my room and came back, each with a book in hand. When they said they couldn’t read the words themselves, I suggested they should look at the pictures and tell the stories to each other based on the images and their memories of the stories. It worked like a charm for a solid – peaceful – twenty minutes!
- Start a book club. We had a daily Baby & Toddler Book Club when the kids were younger. Now, it’s a less organized event because it’s part of daily life.
- Join a virtual book club. Like the Virtual Book Club for Kids, of course. We participate here on the blog so you can read along with us, plus you’ll find 100+ crafts and activities to go along with the author-of-the-month books each month. VBCK is on Pinterest, too, so go get inspired!
- Follow early literacy blogs. There are some really great solely early literacy-focused blogs by moms & teachers, like Growing Book by Book.
- Take library field trips. Go to storytime or go it alone.
- Make a picture book. This is one of my daughter’s favorite activities. Just draw pictures on paper and staple, string, or tape the pages together for your own custom book. Another favorite is DIY sticker books – same concept, but using stickers.
- Start a storytelling tradition. Here’s the way we’ve incorporated storytelling into our early literacy curriculum.
- Act out your favorite stories. Read a book to your child, if she isn’t reading yet. Then have her put on a play based directly on the book or her own interpretation of a classic.
- Use technology as an early literacy tool. Right now our favorite early literacy technology is Bookboard, a service designed to encourage a lifelong love of reading. If you have an iPad and a Bookboard subscription, you basically have a portable library with you wherever you go. My daughter seriously LOVES it, no exaggeration. There is no gaming element, other than a book reward system, unlike typical apps. Your child can read age-appropriate books and “unlock” new books after reading a set number of books in his/her library. The premium version also has an audio book component. They have great collections in their library, which I’ll have to share with you another day. For now…Sign up for Bookboard today and keep #RaisingThinkingKids!
Disclosure: As a Bookboard ambassador, I may receive compensation if you sign up for the Bookboard service through a link in this post or on my website. I only work with companies I personally love, or my kids and family love, and this holds true with Bookboard. I’ve met a lot of their team in real life and know they are passionate about early literacy. All opinions in this post are my own and not Bookboard’s.