Parents of babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers face a wealth of information on the importance of developing their child’s early literacy skills, but what exactly are early literacy skills, and how can parents foster these skills in their children?
What are early literacy skills?
Early literacy skills are the things that children learn about reading and writing before they actually learn to read and write.
Vocabulary is a key early literacy skill. Reading a variety of books and naming everything you can see in the book helps to develop a child’s vocabulary.
Enjoying reading is also a vital early literacy skill, children who enjoy being read to, like to go to the library and pretend to write are demonstrating their enjoyment of reading.
Understanding that writing in English flows from top to bottom and left to right is another important early literacy skill.
Learning to recognise, name and sound out letters furthers a child’s early literacy skills and children should also learn that words are permanent – that a certain combination of letters always spells out the same word.
How can you develop your child’s early literacy skills?
The general consensus among early education specialists is that reading aloud with your children is vital to developing these early literacy skills. Experts suggest that children need to hear 1000 stories before they begin to read themselves. While this sounds like an overwhelming task, there are some simple things parents can do to get their children well on the way to 1000 stories.
- Set up a dedicated reading area where children have access to their favourite books.
- Make books visible around your home; don’t hide them away in crowded bookcases.
- Talk about the front cover before you begin, and ask questions about what the story might be about.
- Let children turn the pages, and run your finger along the words as you read.
- Adopt different voices for various characters within the story.
- Personalise the story to particular events and people from your own lives together.
- Ask questions about the story, and encourage your children to ask you questions.
- Let your children tell you the story from memory.
- Have fun! Treat reading as a treasured part of the day, time for the two of you to enter the secret world of books.
Some great new products have arrived on the Australian market that display books in a front facing position, making them easily accessible and enticing to read.
This article is sponsored by www.tidy-books.com.au.