Read, Read and Read
You know how your child can recite the best parts of the stories you read most? Well, the connection between exposure and learning applies to reading and writing, too.
Variety is great, but familiarity makes new experiences a lot less scary. So choose a few of your child's favorite books, and read them over and over. Focus any spelling and writing practice on the words in those books, rather than on ones your child hasn't seen before. Read a familiar sentence, and then have your child read it. Ask your child to pick a single word on a page and read it, write it and talk about what it means.
Even recognizing words by sight (as opposed to reading them) can encourage first-grade reading and writing success, since that recognition will make it easier to place new sounds and letter combinations in familiar context.
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