Parents learn to boost young children’s reading skills

  • Posted: Thursday, March 28, 2013 12:22 a.m.
Teachers and parents at Salisbury Academy work on a project to help young readers. .
Teachers and parents at Salisbury Academy work on a project to help young readers. .

Salisbury Academy recently hosted a seminar for parents of pre-school students focused on activities for engaging children in early reading and writing skills.

“As a parent, reading to your child is one of the most important things you can do to prepare him with a foundation for academic excellence. Numerous studies show students who are exposed to reading before preschool are more likely to do well in all facets of formal education,” said Academic Administrator Beverly Fowler.

Reading Specialist Melissa Brown opened the seminar by presenting strategies parents may use when reading to their children, including reading every day, taking a picture walk, reading with a fun voice, discussing the story with the child, reading again and again, and knowing when to stop. “Parents are their child’s first and most important teachers,” she said. Each parent was given a copy of “Sheep in a Jeep” by Nancy Shaw, with a bookmark of reading strategies and activities.

Fowler discussed how classic nursery rhymes have become less and less a part of what is read in the home. “In order for a child to understand what they are reading, they have to be able to hear the language first. Nursery rhymes help children learn easy recall and memorization. They teach children that events happen in order, and they begin to learn how to understand stories and follow along. Rhymes also teach pattern and sequence which are early math skills. Creative and imaginative play often result from acting out what the characters are doing.”

Junior kindergarten teacher Sandy Jordan and kindergarten teacher Jan Ketner lead the group in creating a lapbook folder, which is a group of activities centered on a subject or topic combined into a folder full of activities. Lapbooks enhance creativity and critical thinking while incorporating a variety of skills or topics. The “Three Little Kittens” lapbook created at the event included rhyming, matching, color identification and fine motor activities.

“Hands-on workshops like this provide parents with tools they can incorporate at home. The activities engage young learners and allow parents to model fun with reading,” said Fowler.

“The teachers did a wonderful job organizing and facilitating the workshop,” said Suzanne Yost, parent of a pre-school child. “There was lots of great information shared about introducing and reading to our pre-schoolers. Adalyn loved the lapbook and had a great time re-enacting the ‘Three Little Kittens’ using the kitten puppets. Glad I was able to participate and thankful for the tips discussed to encourage reading.”

Salisbury Academy hosts a variety of seminars for parents to learn more about early literacy, wellness and other topics related to education. For more information about upcoming events, visit

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