I am excited to be guest blogging here at Imagination Soup! My name is Danielle. You can usually find me at my blog, 52 Brand New, where I chronicle my family’s adventures as we try a new experience each week of the year.
There are tons of products and ideas on the market to help your child become a better reader. Sure, you can buy flashcards, workbooks, games, you name it. But, there is one easy way to help your child read with more understanding. It doesn’t require a degree in education, doesn’t involve making worksheets, and doesn’t even have to cost money. You simply need to expose your child to new experiences.
New Experiences Build Background Knowledge
Imagine you were asked to read a book about Einstein’s theory of relativity. Unless you already know a lot about astronomy and physics, this book would be very difficult for you to understand. Now, imagine you are a first grader who is asked to read a book about a day at the beach. If you have never walked on sand, heard the waves crash on the shore, or tasted the salt air, it will be hard to make sense of what you have read because you don’t have the background knowledge needed to truly appreciate it.
As parents, we can help our children grow their background knowledge by exposing our children to as new experiences. It opens their minds to new ideas and vocabulary.
Recently, my kids and I tried baking bread. As we were baking, I realized the learning in this simple activity. Typically we buy sliced bread at the supermarket, so my children didn’t know the ingredients to make bread, proofing yeast, or kneading dough. My kids learned new vocabulary: yeast, knead, and rise.
Once I realized that baking bread was more of a learning experience than I had anticipated, we read The Little Red Hen together. They comprehended the story so much more than before they’d made bread.
Try New Experiences
Don’t feel that you don’t have time to do an extensive project with your children?
- Go for a walk near a pond and look for tadpoles.
- Visit your local children’s museum.
- Go to an ethnic restaurant and eat food you’ve never tried before.
The possibilities for expanding your child’s background knowledge are endless.
Once you complete your new activity, find a book to read that relates to the activity. Before reading, ask your children about the new experience. This activates the knowledge that they have recently acquired. As you read, ask your children how the book is similar to their experience. Also discuss the differences they notice. Making these connections deepens their comprehension.
Sharing a new experience with your children can help them become better readers and more knowledgeable students. Most of all, experiencing something new with your children is a wonderful way to spend time together as a family.
Bio: Danielle Greco is a stay at home mother to two wonderful children, ages 6 and 4. She is a certified reading specialist and elementary school teacher with over 10 years of experience in her field. She invites you to visit her blog, 52 Brand New. You may like to read 5 Reasons to Try Something New With Your Child Today and 10 Ways to Expand Your Child’s Comfort Zone.