In talking about children learning to read, don't forget the joys of onomatopoeia -- words that imitate the sounds they are describing. My 6-year-old son loves comic books, and he always has the job of reading "woof," "zap" and "pow." Actually, I think his fascination with these words marked a significant increase in his reading skills. -- Making Reading Fun


Children love to use onomatopoeia. These words are simply fun to say, as they are so descriptive. There's the vroom of car engines, the beep or honk of cars, the clang of a trolley car, and the ticktock of clocks. Many animal sounds are examples of onomatopoeia. The words "meow," "quack," "chirp," "oink," "neigh," "ribbet" and "roar" truly sound like the sounds those animals make. What's great about all these words -- plus additional ones like "boom," "zoom," "buzz," "bang" and "click" -- is that children can shout them out or say them with a lot of expression. Turn your kids loose to read these words once they become familiar with them in frequently read comics or books.

Use a search engine, and you'll find a lot of very funny and easy to read verses using onomatopoeia online. And please send us any that you or your children write so we can put them on the Dear Teacher Web site.