What Kids Learn about Reading and Writing

When kids learn to read and write, it’s not just about putting letters together and forming words. Kids need to learn three things about reading to be successful readers:

  1. HOW WE READ AND WRITE: This is learning the “code” of reading and writing: the letters, what sounds they make, how to put them together to sound out words, and understanding what those words mean, alone and with other words (comprehension).
  2. WHY WE READ AND WRITE: We read and write for entertainment, for education, information and communication.
  3. WHAT WE READ AND WRITE: Reading and writing is about more than stories. We read books, yes, but we also read signs, we read lists, we read letters, and more. Print is everywhere!

Literacy Launchpad has a nice description of a lesson she’s used with preschoolers to help them learn WHY we read – including great book and craft suggestions!

How can we help kids learn the how, why and what of reading? There are lots of things! Here are a few: Run your finger under a word as you read it, especially a repeated phrase. Point out words everywhere: on signs, on boxes in the grocery store, on a magazine. Let your child help you by crossing items off the grocery list when you’re shopping. Play a “letter of the day” game: pick a letter, talk about its sound, and look for it as you go about your day! Let your children see you reading and writing, and talk about what you’re reading or writing. And, of course, most importantly, share books with your children every day!

These are just a FEW ideas, and I’ll be sharing lots more. There are so many easy things to do! What are your ideas? What reading and writing activities have your kids or students loved?


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