How to Promote Early Literacy Development at Home - 5 Easy Ways
What is early literacy?
Children prepare for literacy and learning to read long before school starts. In fact learning literacy begins even in babies. It is important to provide the best environment possible for your child to develop the early literacy skills necessary to facilitate reading when the time comes. There are many easy ways to incorporate literacy development into your home environment and routine that will set your child up for success in literacy. Successful literacy development often leads to increased academic success as children go through their academic careers.
Take the time to read the five easy steps to incorporate literacy into your every day life and then begin to put them into practice and set your child up for success!
1. Read to your child daily
Make sure you have plenty of age-appropriate books available in your home. Keep a bin of board books or preschool books in your living room beside your couch. Encourage your child to look at the books whenever possible, during any routines where waiting is necessary, at quite time, after dinner etc.
Ensure you set aside time to look at the books together. Read to your child, and ask them questions about the pictures in the book. Explore colours, feelings, numbers and whatever else you can find in the pictures together. This will expose you child to literacy in a way that teaches them to use their mind to think about what is happening and to appreciate the information that books contain.
2. Have letters and words in the environment
Keeping letter magnets on the fridge, labeling bins of toys, labeling your child's belongings with their name etc all influence literacy development. The more your child is exposed to letters and words the easier it is for them to learn to recognize them. The more a child sees their name written the easier it is for them to identify the letters that "belong to them" and the faster they will learn to write their name when ready.
Alphabet magnets are a great way for your child to experiment with letters and words. Not to mention a great pass time for them while you get dinner ready. Enrich your home with as much literacy as you can!
3. Provide opportunities to draw
Drawing is a very important element in literacy development. Drawing helps children learn to hold a pencil, marker or crayon properly, and helps them practice making it write. They develop skills in making shapes and lines which will eventually help them make letters. Drawing also encourages creativity, imagination and stories, all important elements of literacy.
4. Tell Stories
A huge part of literacy involves understanding the process of a story. Learning the concept of beginning, middle, and end and trying to predict what might come next. By telling short stories and encouraging them to play pretend, children learn important elements of stories that will help them in literacy development later in life.
Try something as simple as telling them what happened in your day from beginning to end. Ask them what happened in their day and help them tell the story of their day by asking specific questions like "Did you make a craft today?", "What craft did you make?" etc. Although younger preschoolers may not be able to tell the details of their day, these questions will help them remember what happened and prompt them to form the story about what happened in their day.
5. Model Literacy
A child that sees their parents and siblings reading on a regular basis is more likely to become an avid reader themselves. It is a behaviour that is common to them and they are familiar with it, therefore it seems normal for them to begin to do it also. As you are reading a book on the couch regularly, you will see your child also take one of their books and curl up beside your to read (or look at the pictures) also!