Reading is all around us, and parents can use familiar signs to enhance a child's reading skills. Children recognize environmental print, such as logos and signs, as early as 2 years old, especially when they associate the signs with something enjoyable.
Leslie Anne Perry from East Tennessee State University demonstrated that third-grade students who were practically nonreaders were successfully taught essential reading skills by using commercial logos, such as McDonald's, Cheerios and Wal-Mart. They also learned reading can be fun.
The Logo Approach she developed can be used by parents and teachers with beginning readers of any age. Here's how.
n Cut out logos with which your child is likely to be familiar. Use newspapers, cereal boxes, coupons, even the Yellow Pages. Glue them onto index cards.
n Using words from early readers or from your child's teacher, prepare more word cards. You'll want to make cards for ``a,'' ``an'' or ``the'' to help you and your child form sentences.
n Now make some word cards with your child's name and the names of family members or other significant people about whom your child might dictate sentences.
n Show your child some logo cards that you think she can identify and discuss them. Use the word cards and the name cards to form sentences, such as ``Mommy and I went to McDonald's for lunch.'' The length and the number of sentences you create will depend upon your child's skills and abilities, so start off very simply.
n Have your child read sentences or stories several times with your help. Later, print or type the sentences for your child to read.
n On successive days, create new sentences to be printed or typed. Your child will become almost as familiar with the words on the word cards as she is with the logos. The purpose is not to teach the logos - your child already knows them - but to provide a familiar context for your child to learn the words on the word cards and expand her sight vocabulary.
- Susan Rapp, director of the Village Reading Center