Literacy Talking to Your Six-Year-Old

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.

Help your child develop speaking and listening skills:

Ask Questions

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.

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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.

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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!

Family Relationships

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.

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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.

Pup Talk

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.

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"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?"

Catch!

Martha is learning new vocabulary words and their definitions. With every correct answer, your child will collect more frisbees to play catch with Skits!

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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?

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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!

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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.

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Activity Finder: Learn With Your Six-Year-Old

Explore our Age-by-Age Guide: