We know by now how important it is for us to not only read to our kids, but also how important it is to engage our children and have them read with us. All parents want to instill a love of books and reading in their children! It is no surprise that mastering literacy skills from a young age is not only crucial for reaching key milestones in language and communication, but also linked to higher academic performance across math, science and social studies.
That is why one of the hallmarks of Stamford American School’s educational program is its focus on building students’ literacy skills from a young age. All Stamford students from Pre-Primary (kindergarten) through Grade 5 undergo regular in-class reading assessments through the Fountas & Pinnell Benchmark Assessment System (BAS). This allows teachers to deliver individualized reading programs based on each child’s reading level, as well as to determine and report on the growth of each student during the academic year. To support this program, every classroom at Stamford is equipped with its own library containing a dedicated set of over 1,000 books in core subject areas, including leveled books in science and engineering, giving students access to a wealth of resources at their fingertips.
Outside of school, parents can also play a huge role in helping their children to become interested in reading and in encouraging their growth in reading skills. But it is often easier said than done. Ever deal with a frustrated young reader? Good intentions can often lead to tears. The trick is to make it stress-free and fun. The pros at Stamford have shared their tips for enjoyable literacy activities to help create budding bookworms!
Story Magnets: Cut out pictures and key words in large text from recycled magazines and old storybooks. Attach these words to adhesive-backed magnets and create a little activity set on your fridge or a handheld whiteboard and work with your child to form sentences and tell stories.
Why we love this activity: Physically creating sentences and stories stimulates the brain in a multi-sensory way — combining visual, hands-on and imaginative elements.
Themed Reading: Dedicate each week to a different theme of storybooks. You might spend one week reading all about animals, and the next week about transportation. Couple this with some fun arts and crafts activities that relate to that week’s theme.
Why we love this activity: Exposing your child to different types of books shows that with a bit of creativity, there are many different ways to tell a story about a single theme.
Reading Switch: Have your child read one page of a book to you, then read the next page to them. Have them read along with you until they have the confidence to read more and more parts of the story without your help.
Why we love this activity: A fundamental part of developing your child’s reading ability is building their confidence to read without the fear of “messing up”.
Write & Tell: Pair your child up with a pen pal (grandma and grandpa are great candidates!). Each week, have them write about something that they did, any observations they’ve made or even a made-up story about their favorite toy. Give them paper and crayons to include things like illustrations.
Why we love this activity: Encouraging your child to write letters will develop their confidence in their ability to put stories into words. This activity also helps children realize that printed words, just as with spoken words, have a purpose and are used for communication.
Reading Nook: Create a cozy reading nook, with pillows and a blanket, in a room where you are working. Add some of your child’s favorite books, as well as some new ones. Get your child involved in the decoration process so that they have ownership of this space.
Why we love this activity: It’s important to offer your child an environment that encourages reading. Their own “reading nook” will give your child plenty of encouragement for choosing books on their own and reading in their spare time.
About Stamford American School – Hong Kong
Stamford American School – Hong Kong is an international school for children aged 5 to 18 years old, opening in September 2017. The opening of the Hong Kong campus follows the huge success of their sister campus in Singapore, which today has a community of over 3,000 students from 70 countries.
The school offers a standardized curriculum based on the American Education Reaches Out (AERO) and Common Core Plus frameworks, graduating students with the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Program to 1st tier universities worldwide.
To find out more about Stamford, register for one their Open House sessions on October 26 – 27 and November 15 – 16 or call (+852) 2500 8688 to speak to their Admissions team.
*Stamford American School Hong Kong will apply to the International Baccalaureate for program candidacy in December 2017.