Helping Your Children Become Readers

Becoming a reader is not something that is going to happen overnight.  It takes several years for a child to amass the knowledge that is needed to become a reader.  Through these preliminary years there are several learning experiences that families can provide for their children to guide them toward becoming readers.  These learning experiences should be fun and entertaining so that the children will build a love of learning and reading.

It doesn’t seem appropriate to talk about building readers during the infant stage, but that is exactly where children begin their journey toward reading.  It is during this time that they are first exposed to books and language and they begin to build their knowledge about the world around them.  Families can provide experiences like those suggested by Reading is Fundamental (2007) below, which will enhance their understanding about language and literacy:

  • Read aloud to your baby for only a few minutes at a time.
  • Point to things in picture books and name them
  • Set aside at least one regularly schedule time each day for reading
  • Recite nursery rhymes and sing songs.  Rhymes help develop a young child’s ear for language

Toddlers show an increasing awareness and delight in reading books.  It is not uncommon for them to walk over to a book, pick it up and pretend to read it.  These actions should be acknowledged and the child should feel as though they are capable of reading to themselves.  This confidence will help guide them once they reach the kindergarten level of reading.  Families can provide experiences like those suggested by Reading is Fundamental (2007) below, which will enhance toddler’s understanding about language and literacy:

  • Read aloud to your toddler for as long as they are willing to listen
  • As your child learns to talk, ask them to point out the pictures in the book and say what they are
  • Make reading a part of your toddler’s everyday routine, putting aside time with them every day to read.
  • Take your toddler to the library or bookstore for story hour.
  • Continue to recite nursery rhymes and sing songs with your toddler

Once your child becomes a preschooler it is important to remember that they are still not quite at the age where reading begins.  They are still in the process of learning their letters (alphabetic knowledge) and the sounds that they make (phonetic knowledge) and how these combine to create words (phonemic knowledge).  This is quite a bit of knowledge for them to acquire during these years.  Here are suggestions from Reading is Fundamental (2007) which families can do to help guide their children towards this knowledge:

  • Encourage your child to join in while you read.  Pause and let them fill in rhyming words or repeating lines.
  • Ask open-ended questions while reading, i.e., “What do you think will happen next?”   “How would you feel if that happened to you?”
  • Move your finger under the words as you read.  This will help them connect the written words to the spoken words and will also develop their ability to read from left to right.
  • Begin teaching the letters of the alphabet, starting with those in your child’s name.  (See the article on ways to learn letters for fun interactive ways to work with your child on this skill)
  • Introduce concept books such as counting and ABC books
  • Introduce pattern books (those with rhyme and repetition, for example:  Chicka, Chicka, Boom, Boom by Bill Martin Jr., John Archambault and Lois Ehlert

In all of these activities it is important to remember that in order for a child to remember what they are learning they need to be able to attach it to a positive emotion.  By making it fun for your child you are providing that emotion and increasing their ability to retain the information.

Sandra Weyer, M.Ed.



Helping your child become readers. (2007). Retrieved from Reading is Fundamental:



Kindergarten Readiness

Kindergarten Readiness – Social Skills


There are many different theories on what a child needs to be successful in kindergarten.  At the preschool level we strive to make sure that each child is ready for the adjustment to a new school, new teacher and new friends.  Our goal is to make sure that each child walks away from our program with the skills needed to not just be successful in kindergarten, but for years to come.

In my eighteen years in the field of early childhood education one skill has remained consistent among kindergarten readiness and that is a child’s social skills.  Social skills involve not only a child’s ability to get along with others, but their ability to be independent.

How Giggle Gang fosters social skills:

  • Eating family style – By giving the children the opportunity to serve themselves and make decisions about what they are eating we are fostering their independence.
  • Encouraging conversations – There are times throughout the day where the teacher will start a conversation with a group of children and then sit back to see where it goes.  By doing this they are fostering the skill of communication.  The children learn to both share, but also listen to what others have to say.  During these conversations the children have the opportunity to express their opinions, feelings and favorite things.
  • Classroom rules – At the beginning of every school year the children sit down with the teacher and create a list of classroom rules and the consequences for disregarding a rule.  These rules are revisited throughout the year as new children enter the classroom, or the need for an adjustment to the rules is deemed necessary.  This gives the children a sense of ownership over the classroom and teaches them the reasons behind rules, and the importance of following them.
  • Conflict resolution – Each classroom has a system for handling conflict between the children.  This system shows the children how to be respectful of each other while voicing their concerns and feelings.  As the year progresses the teacher slowly pulls away from mediating the conflict as the children become more proficient at coming to resolutions on their own.
  • Centers – During the day the children have a period of time called choice time.  During this time they have access to several of the centers within the classroom.  They are given the choice of where they would like to “work” during this time.  Each center is equipped to hold up to four children at a time.  When there are too many children at the center the children have the opportunity to sign up to be next.  This teaches the children patience and the importance of waiting their turn.  Sometimes this can be difficult in the beginning, but as the year progresses the children become used to waiting their turn and are observant to where there is room to participate while they are waiting.
  • Interactions – Our teachers spend the majority of their time interacting with the children in their classroom.  The teachers participate with the children while letting them lead their play.  During these times the teacher becomes a model for the children as she shares, converses and follows the directions of others.


Over the next few weeks I will be delving into the other skills that have been proven to be conducive to kindergarten success and how we incorporate these skills into the children’s everyday learning so that they are ready to be a success in kindergarten and beyond.

Social-Emotional Interactions with Infants

Giggle Gang Families,

We strive to offer appropriate social- emotional interactions between our Teachers and children in each program. These interactions are vital to all programs but more so a significant part of each infant’s brain development. From birth to one the brain is growing more rapidly than any other time in life”(CCM, BCAL-Pub-37 ).  According to the National Association for the Education of Young Children, quality care is about relationships. Studies have been found to show that “Infants learn trust through daily interactions with caregivers.  During the course of an infant’s day, routine tasks offer opportunities for caregivers to be especially attentive to an infant’s basic needs”(CCM, BCAL-Pub-37 ). The connections are made when our teachers interact during daily routines of talking, smiling, soothing, reading stories and encouraging eye contact. We love to play at Giggle Gang and encourage this with your child to develop, learn and grow. Some activities that help with development are quick and easy such as showing a child how to pick up and shake an object, recognize their own image in a mirror, clap their hands together to make a sound or just blinking their eyes by mimicking. “Simple play stimulates the development of positive brain connections that allows later play skills to become more complex. Play is one of the most important ways infants learn about their world”(CCM, BCAL-Pub-37). So as you drop off your infant this month think about all the wonderful milestones they will achieve just by being a part of our Giggle Gang family!

What you can do as a Parent to encourage Brain development at home:

1. Hold and cuddle infants: Warm nurturing touch not only supports critical

bonding that leads to attachment, it also generates

brain connections that support every area of infant

development. the balance sensors located behind the ear

(vestibular system).

2. Slow and gentle dances: that include up and down, side-to-side and

back and forth movements are most effective

in comforting a crying infant.

3. Swinging: This can be incorporated by using

either an infant swing or holding the infant while

swaying on a swing or glider. Rocking is also a

great way to incorporate a swinging motion.

4. Take a walk: Take the infant for a walk outside or

put her in an infant carrier to be walked around

the house. This stimulates the movement she

experienced while in the womb.

5.  Roll on a ball: Kneel on the floor and drape

the baby tummy-down on a beach ball.

6. Engage in uninterrupted play every day.

7. Use daily routines as a time to connect.


Erika Webber-Director




Michigan Child Care Matters,Issue 85  BCAL-Pub-37 (Rev.7-09)

Mary Mackrain, Child Care Expulsion Prevention Program and Training Director: FOR NOW AND FOREVER BUILDING INFANT SOCIAL AND EMOTIONAL HEALTH ,BCAL-Pub-37 (Rev.7-09)

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