One of the most powerful ways to develop your child's literacy skills is also the easiest: talk to your kids! At age six, children begin to use language to explain both their outer world (what they see) and their inner world (what they think, feel and imagine). When they talk to caring adults, they can expand their vocabulary and learn more about the give-and-take of conversations — including taking turns and building on someone else's ideas.
Literacy Talking to Your Six-Year-Old
Help your child develop speaking and listening skills:
Questions are great conversation starters and can help kids explore their thinking. At this age, kids enjoy the "would you rather" game, which can be both silly and serious. For example, "Would you rather play in the snow or on a hot, sandy beach?" or "Which superpower would you rather have: super speed or the power to fly?" Follow up with "Why?" to encourage them to clarify their thoughts.
Tibble Super Action Challenge
How well does your child know the show Arthur? Find out with this game where D.W. asks trivia questions about Arthur and his friends.Play This Game
Play Guessing Games
Games such as "I Spy" and "20 Questions" teach language and reasoning skills. Give your child clues and see if she can guess what you are thinking — and then let her have a turn while you guess.
Deep Sea Follow Me!
The Cat in the Hat's fish friends are looking for a home in the coral reef. Your child can help find the right spots in the coral reef by listening to clues and identifying relative position words such as over, under, behind, and between.Play This Game
Describe Family Photos
Kids love to look at photos of people they know and events they've enjoyed. As you flip through photos together on your phone or in an album, share stories and memories!
Celebrate Family Diversity
Families come in all shapes and sizes. Use this activity with a group of children to celebrate and appreciate the things that make each family unique.Do This Activity
Expand on Observations
When your child shares an observation, expand on what he notices. You can help him feel heard while teaching new information and vocabulary. When your child points out the full moon, take a moment to talk about the cycles of the moon. When your child notices a stop sign, make it a game to find and identify other traffic signs.
Your child can tell his own Martha Speaks story! In this microphone-based game, your child can pick parts of a story and tell it aloud.Play This Game
"Let's Find Out!”
In the age of the smartphone, the answers to many of your child's "Why?" questions are in your pocket. When kids stump you, use it as an opportunity to say, "I don't know. Let's look it up!" But before going online or to the bookshelf, first ask your child, "What do you think?"
Martha is learning new vocabulary words and their definitions. With every correct answer, your child will collect more frisbees to play catch with Skits!Play This Game
Flip "How Was School Today?"
Are you tired of asking that question and hearing, "Fine" or "Good"? Try these questions and prompts instead:
- Tell me something good/frustrating that happened today.
- Tell me something that made you laugh today.
- Where did you play at recess?
- If you could switch seats with anyone in the class, who would you trade with? Why?
Click here and here for dozens more ideas!
Marthur Stickerbook Mashup
Your child can create and print her own sticker book picture page featuring characters from both the Arthur and Martha Speaks series. What kind of story can she tell in one picture?Play This Game
Introduce New Words in the Kitchen
Cooking is a great time to talk and teach language and math skills. Show your child what a recipe looks like, pull out and name ingredients together and describe the process of measuring, cutting and mixing.
Cold As Ice
Combining literacy and science, your child can make a healthy frozen snack while learning temperature vocabulary!Do This Activity
Raise a Reader with Super Why
Super Why introduces children to the power of reading -- and helps kids develop problem-solving skills along the way. Through engaging stories and games, your child can practice key skills like letter identification, word decoding, spelling, vocabulary and comprehension.Find Activities
Activity Finder: Learn With Your Six-Year-Old
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PBS Parents Play & Learn
Designed specifically with parents in mind, this app provides more than a dozen math and literacy games that parents can play with their kids. Each game builds on the natural curiosity of children and is themed around a familiar location like the garden or grocery store.
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Super Stuff Design Center
It's time to get creative with Super Why! Your child can decorate a card, poster, or bookmark with Super Why characters and phrases in this online game.