Many of the ideas below came from lists provided by Gail Boushey, co-author of the book The Daily 5. This book and the website associated with it are directed more at teachers than parents, however there is still a lot of very useful information in them for parents, especially now that we have all been supporting our children’s learning at home rather than sending them to school each day.
The five “stations” for Daily 5 are: Read to Self, Work on Writing, Read to Someone, Listen to Reading, and Word Work.
Ways you can foster children’s interest in independent reading:
- Find out what kinds of books your children like to read.
- Plan a weekly trip to the public library for the whole family.
- Obtain individual public library cards for each family member.
- Subscribe to a children’s magazine to share as a family.
- Establish a family togetherness time to encourage nightly reading.
- Model interest in literacy by reading side by side with children.
- Talk about well-loved books that you enjoyed as a youngster.
- Help children research nonfiction topics that interest them.
- Have children read about places that the family might visit.
Ways you can inspire children to write at home:
- Set up a writing table with a variety of pencils, markers, and papers.
- Have children write lists for upcoming visits to the grocery store.
- Place a note on child’s pillow or taped to their bedroom door, and invite them to write back to you. You may also want to use a journal for written conversations – great practice to start around age 8 to create a habit they may continue into their teen years.
- Give children a clipboard and pencil and send them on a word hunt around the house.
- Involve children in writing a nightly message such as “Today we had pasta for dinner.”
- Let them choose photos of a family activity and have them write captions for the pictures.
- Ask children to help create a weekly or monthly family newsletter.
- Invite children to create their own stories or books.
- Encourage children to write letters and cards to grandparents and other relatives.
Ways you can give children the opportunity to read to someone at home:
- Ask your children to read you a bedtime story or take turns reading one page each, especially with longer novels.
- Encourage siblings, cousins, and friends to have fun reading to each other.
- Ask your child to invite visitors to be read to. Or ask visitors to excitedly ask to be read to. Honour your child’s personality and do not insist or force.
- Take turns reading the frames of a comic strip with your children.
- Make a list of funny reading partners such as Read to the Dog, Read to your LEGO people, Read to your action figures or stuffed animals.
- Help children record themselves reading a favorite story or reading an informative non-fiction book aloud.
- Gather books of jokes and riddles for children to read to family members.
- Have children read recipes out loud during meal preparation or baking.
- Run music videos with lyrics on a large screen TV for your children to read and sing along with.
Ways to give children the opportunity to listen to reading:
- Schedule a nightly read-aloud of a child-selected bedtime story.
- Read aloud to your children during car rides.
- Use different character voices as you read children their favorite stories.
- Set up a corner of the house with a CD player and books on CD. Take these CDs on longer car rides.
- Allow children to ask “Siri” or “Alexa” to recite/play nursery rhymes or poems for children to read along with.
- Invite relatives, neighbours, and babysitters to read to your children.
- Find out how to download children’s e-books from the local library or through their school’s website.
- Register children for weekly story time sessions at the local library.
- Use online sources from the Listen to Reading Websites list found on the Daily 5 website. Download a PDF here!
Ways to give children the opportunity to do word work at home:
- Invite children to collect interesting words on a home word wall on an actual wall or on the front of the fridge, washer and dryer, or dishwasher.
- Have children use magnetic letters on any metal surface to write their names, words, sentences, and more.
- Make a simple word work area at home with materials they can shape into letters or words such as shells, beads, clay, magnetic letters, magnetic poetry sets. Ask children to “write” messages to family members using word work materials.
- Have fun with interesting words by doing a children’s crossword puzzle together as a family or ask your child to create a WordSearch for a younger sibling.
- On a regular basis, play word games that help children expand their vocabulary such as “say a word that starts with the last letter of the word I said” (for younger children make the game easier and more fun by listing animals instead of random vocabulary).
- Challenge children to find certain types of words (compound words, words with a certain prefix or suffix, words that start with…) in a newspaper or a magazine.
- Look up an unknown word in a print dictionary or show how to find the definition in an online dictionary.
- Write an interesting word for each day of the month on the family calendar; encourage children to use the featured word in speaking or writing on that day.
- Provide a Word of the Day opportunity by keeping an interesting words jar – invite children to pull out a paper and read the word allowed with its definition. Model use of the word in a sentence and encourage children to do the same.