Your 5-year-old is on the cusp of learning to read and is developing the small motor skills necessary to write. According to LD Online, the majority of children learn to read by the time they are 7. At 5, your child might not yet be ready to begin reading, but you can help foster a love of reading, and you should encourage your child's eagerness to learn. Your 5-year-old also may have rudimentary and uneven handwriting. This can be normal, but if you have concerns, discuss them with his teacher.
Help Improve Reading Skills
Read to your child often. Reading consists of both learning to decode words and comprehending what the words mean. When you read aloud to your child, ask her questions about the plot and her opinion of the characters. This will help her develop the habit of seeing the action unfold in her mind's eye, which will help her later when she begins reading on her own.
Keep things fresh and new. Directgov.uk recommends taking your child to the library and allowing him to choose books on his own. Take notice of his interests, and look for books that you think he will find exciting. Occasionally treat him to a new book as a gift.
Play with words with your child. Spell out words that she knows on the refrigerator with magnets. Let her trace the letters of words with her finger in a pan of salt or sand. Play rhyming games and point out the endings of words. Give her tongue-twisters and point out the beginning sounds of words.
Ask your child to try reading to you, even if he's not a fluent reader yet. If a whole page or even a sentence of type is too intimidating, invite him to read the sight words he knows, such as "the" or "and" while you read the rest of the page.
Help Improve Handwriting Skills
Encourage your child to develop her fine motor skills. Activities that use the hands and fingers strengthen the muscles necessary to have good handwriting later. Some activities recommended by Education.com include playing with Play-Doh, tearing strips of paper, using plastic tweezers to pick up objects and mixing watercolors with an eyedropper.
Find out what type of manuscript writing your child's school teaches. Some schools teach traditional manuscript, and others use D'Nealian manuscript, which looks like a manuscript/cursive hybrid. Show your child how to write his name as well as the names of family members in the appropriate writing style.
Encourage your child to practice her writing every day. To avoid frustration, limit writing sessions to a few minutes at a time, unless she wants to write for a longer time period. She can ask you how to spell words, or she can simply write a string of letters, such as her name and other short words that she knows how to spell.
Things You'll Need
Sand or salt