Reading to your children on a regular basis is very important. If your family's first language is not English, we would encourage you to read to your children in your mother tongue as well. Doing both is equally important.
Read. It doesn't matter what you read or what language you read it in. Children need to be involved in reading everyday, whether it's with their parents, siblings, aunts, uncles or grandparents. The more people who read with your children the better! If you're not a confident out loud reader, try using stories on CD or MP3 and have your child follow along with the story in their book.
Make a game out of going to the grocery store. Have your child find items that all start with the same letter. You can have them look for items with the letter “P”, such as paper, pizza, pretzels, popcorn and peanuts. Emphasize the sound the letter makes and have them point to the letter in print. They will begin to understand that the big “P” means pizza on the pizza box label. This is the first step toward learning how to read.
Encourage your child to sing songs that they love. Even let them make up their own versions to the song. Not only does this instill the love of language, but it lets them have fun while learning.
Here are some to get you started!
Making a rhyming box is relatively straightforward. You can use items that you have around your home or you could go to a local craft or toy store to find things. What you are looking for are small items that rhyme, such as a pan and a fan or a shell and a bell. Once you have these, place approximately ten sets of them in a shoebox and give it a shake. Have your child open the box and match up the rhyming items. To extend this activity, you can provide an item that does not have a rhyming match and have your child draw a picture of something that would rhyme with it.
When you're reading with your child, take time to talk about the pictures. Ask them what's happening, what things they can see, etc. It's important to involve them in what's happening in the story.
You could also try a story without words. Make it up as you go along and ask your children to help. Here's a list of great stories without words: