This is the third of four articles in a series about incorporating authentic learning and authentic assessment in both the classroom setting and at home.
In our first two articles, we focused on classroom-based authentic learning activities for early literacy and numeracy skills. In this article, we’ll now take a look at some literacy-focused authentic learning ideas that can be applied at home.
We encourage you to share this list of examples with parents or use it to generate additional ideas appropriate for families. Early childhood education begins at home and flourishes with the active engagement of all stakeholders. The activities below are designed
to directly engage parents as partners in the learning process. In addition to promoting the understanding of data, as educators we can support parents by sharing practical ideas such as these in order to make it easier for families to incorporate foundational literacy and numeracy skills in their child’s home environment.
1. Engage in regular conversation with infants and toddlers. Teach conversational skills such as listening and speaking in turn.
2. Reward early speech with attention and praise. Encourage use of words to express needs and emotions.
3. Connect spoken words to real-life objects, people and places. Immersion in rich language activities enhances oral communication skills and contributes to reading and writing skills.
4. Read picture books with large words that can easily me memorized. This process contributes to sight word recognition and increases reading fluency.
5. Label important everyday items in the child’s room or around the house and associate written words to spoken words.
6. Purchase wordless books and encourage children to create stories based on pictures.
7. Teach important parts of books, like the cover, spine, author and illustrator. This can be incorporated seamlessly into story time.
8. Ask lots of questions at varying levels of difficulty to exercise comprehension skills.
9. Use bath time and cooking dinner to promote letter recognition. Use floating letters in the bath or tile or magnetic letters in the kitchen. Consider using letter shapes for baking activities.
10. Use index cards to write sight words. Place them on a ring and keep for car and/or restaurant activities.
11. Allow children to explore scribbling as a precursor to writing. Buy a composition book along with a coloring book. These activities also help build fine motor skills.
12. Have a variety of written materials available at home. Materials might include magazines, newspapers, advertisements, coupons, etc.
13. Bring reading and writing into everyday activities like grocery shopping (making a list, reading labels), filling up your gas tank, or deciding what to eat from a menu.
In the next and final article in this series, we’ll focus on home-based authentic learning experiences for numeracy skills.
For now, do share some of your favorite examples of home-based authentic learning experiences in the comments below!