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Easy Ways to Introduce Literacy to Kids in Every Day Life

Updated on February 9, 2014

Early Exposure to Literacy

Early exposure to literacy helps form great, well-rounded readers and it helps kids do better in school as well! Why not do what you can in the pre-school years for your child's educational future??

There are some very basic things you can do that are easy and fun and will encourage your child to develop a love for reading!

[By the way I'm writing this post as a Mom, Elementary Education major (with a minor in English Language and Literature), Certified Teacher, and current Pre-Kindergarten Teacher.]

How to Make a Great Reader

Guess what book she's "reading" here!  (lol)
Guess what book she's "reading" here! (lol)

11 Simple Ways to Introduce Reading

1. Label with words and pictures.

2. Put letter magnets on your fridge.

3. Play letter puzzles.

4. Talk to your child. Ask about her day. Narrate life.

5. Encourage your child to "read" independently.

6. Have a lot of books and put them in a reach-able space.

7. Add a bedtime story to your night-time routine.

8. Read your child long books without pictures.

9. Instead of (or possibly in addition to) toys, bring books when you go out and about.

10. Model your interest in reading.

11. Do art projects based on stories.

Learning Letters

Phonemes are the building blocks of reading. They are the smallest units of sound. The first three items on my list have to do with learning the letters. Exposure to letters is always a great idea, and when your child enters pre-school age, you can start to teach him or her to identify the letters (starting around age 2) and learn each letter sound (starting around age 3). At the start of the new year, I've begun to teach my 4 year old students how to put three letter sounds together and actually read those small words!

My daughter has loved playing with her letter puzzle (over and over and over) which has been awesome. When she plays with it independently, she gets the look and feel of each different letter and sees how they're oriented as well as their location in the alphabet.

When I work with her on the puzzle, I tell her what each letter is and have her repeat it back to me. We play games, and we take all the letters out and put them back as we say their names. I will also begin to work with her on their sounds using this puzzle.

Fridge Letters

Our Fridge
Our Fridge

Label the Surroundings

She also gets the look and feel of the different letters from playing with the letter magnets on our fridge. This provides a GREAT activity for her when I'm cooking and she wants to be in the kitchen with me.

Labeling is a wonderful idea and it's very easy to do. Adding pictures to the words helps children associate those words to their meaning. Here are some easy things around the house you can label:

* Oven * Chair
* Couch * Table
* Door * Cabinets
* Window * TV
* Toys * Pantry

Let's start to develop their vocabularies early!

Some Light Reading

My Daughter Reading in the Car
My Daughter Reading in the Car | Source

Narrating and "Reading"

Narrate your life, describe what you're doing, go over his or her day. These are all great ideas especially if you have a newborn. As your child gets older, you can turn it into a conversation. Ask how his or her day is going or what he or she did at daycare. Ask about friends, games, and favorite things. Just talk about anything!

Encourage independent reading and have a lot of children's books within reach. It's most likely that they can't actually read the words before school age, but they can (and should) "read" their books. This involves looking at and thinking about the pictures as well as seeing the words. This is also how they can develop an understanding of concepts of print such as reading goes from left to write, starting at front cover and making his or her way to the back cover.

Allowing your child to have her own books in her own space will be very encouraging and allow her to make a love of reading her own!

Brining books when you go out is a great because you can let your child choose the book and then they can spend time with a book instead of having more toy time. We love doing this for church, restaurants or even just in the car.

Read Alouds

If you don't already do so, add reading a story to your bedtime routine. This is a fantastic way to ensure that you read to the Little One at least once every day. It also calms children down before bed, which makes for a smoother transition!

You don't have to read picture books all the time. Before my daughter was born, I read The Hobbit to her. Now that I'm 7 months pregnant with her brother, I'm reading it again, but I'm making sure to include my daughter as well. Fun fact: my mom read The Hobbit to me before I was born too. Maybe that's why I love reading so much...

Let me also suggest Family Reading Time. Let your Little One(s) see you and your spouse reading for fun as well. Children often want to imitate their parents. If we show them that we love reading maybe they'll want to do that instead of watching TV all the time. You and your spouse can each pick up your books and have your children choose some to read as well. Then you can all get cozy on the couch or in bed. Teach them about "curling up with a good book".

Her Own Books Within Reach

Make books easily accessible
Make books easily accessible

Do You Read to Your Children Every Day?

When does your child read?

See results

Art Projects with Stories

Have your child draw a picture from his or her favorite book. Your child could even tell you his or her favorite character or favorite part in the book to draw. For my pre-k students, I print off coloring sheets of their favorite scenes out of books.

Frozen is all the rage right now so several of them bring in their Frozen book for me to read. In addition to reading the story, we do coloring sheets, and listen to / sing / dance to the Frozen movie soundtrack. If you can add music to your literacy activities, go for it!!

While they are drawing on their own, ask them what they're drawing. Ask if there's a story that goes along with it. Show them how you can write down what they tell you so they can take ownership over their own stories.

Fun & Free Literacy Activities at Home

© 2014 Jamie Jensen

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    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 2 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      These are really worthwhile. I will definitely share these ideas with my friends who have kids. I like those letters in the fridge.

    • ForLoveofCupcakes profile image
      Author

      Jamie Jensen 3 years ago from Chicago

      Thanks so much, Rose!! :)

    • randomcreative profile image

      Rose Clearfield 3 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      You have so many great suggestions here for both teachers and parents! Awesome resource!

    • ForLoveofCupcakes profile image
      Author

      Jamie Jensen 3 years ago from Chicago

      Thanks a lot, @thebiologyofleah ! I adore reading and hope the same thing for my kids!! :) Thanks for the comment!

    • thebiologyofleah profile image

      thebiologyofleah 3 years ago from Massachusetts

      I love all of your tips here, reading is such a big part of my life and I hope to pass it down to my children as well. I especially love the idea of labelling things around the house and how you incorporate children's books as art projects.

      Sharing!