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I’m concerned that my kindergartener is not progressing with reading and writing at the rate of her classmates. How can I help her?

The complete question

I’m concerned that my kindergartner is not progressing with reading and writing at the rate of her classmates. We try to sit her down to practice sight words, but she loses interest and doesn’t remember them the next day. How can I help her?

Expert answer

The following articles will give you an idea of the types of skills that your child should be demonstrating at her age:

A disinterest in learning sight words is most likely due to the fact that she is not developmentally ready yet. You may want to hold off practicing sight words for a little while and instead focus on incorporating reading and writing into the everyday fun activities that you share, such as reading a recipe and baking together, writing a grocery list, and sending notes to each other and other family members.

Allow her to scribble letters without correction and use letter magnets and stamps. Take dictation while she tells you her ideas. In this way, she will discover the joy, power and practicality of literacy and will be inspired to learn more as she is ready, rather than getting bogged down in the mechanics of reading and writing.

Many children want their home to be a more relaxed place with less explicit instruction than a typical school setting. This doesn’t mean that real learning can’t take place at home, but it can be presented in a way that is playful and fun for both of you.

The following articles may give you ideas of ways that you can encourage your daughter to improve her literacy skills while taking some of the pressure off both of you:

One of the most valuable gifts you can give your daughter is to instill in her a love of reading and writing and a genuine curiosity and desire to learn. She will take this gift with her throughout her lifetime.

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