At school, children are introduced to different kinds of writing — storybooks, books about topics they are studying, magazines, how-to guides, recipes, and content on the web. These are the kinds of writing that children and adults read in school and in daily life. You can read anything and everything with your child. This helps your child learn how and why writing and reading are important and useful. Here are some ideas.

Read magazines and newspapers. Talk about the photos and illustrations. Find an article by using the table of contents page. Discuss the different sections, such as sports, local news, and advertising.

Write a letter together. Use it to say “Thank you,” “I hope you feel better soon,” or just “Hello.” Explain why you write the date and include the name of the person whom you are writing to. Sign it and have your child sign her name too.

Follow a recipe in a book or instructions on a food container. Work as a team to gather the ingredients. Then follow the directions step-by-step. Ask your child to help you figure out what comes next.

Read a variety of books. At the library, help your child pick storybooks, nonfiction books, and books to read together. Your child might choose a book of poems or a book with lots of detailed pictures to look at together.

Source: Adapted from the Message in a Backpack, Teaching Young Children 6 (3): 29

© National Association for the Education of Young Children — Promoting excellence in early childhood education