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Early literacy is what children know about reading and writing before they actually learn to read and write. Early literacy is all about laying the foundation for reading so that when your child is developmentally ready to read they will have the necessary skills.
It is never too early to start planting the seeds for your child's future success in learning to read. Here are five literacy practices that you can start today to help build reading readiness.
- TALKING with you helps children learn! Whether your child is babbling or speaking words, the more you respond the more they will learn.
SINGING slows down language so children hear the different sounds that make-up words. This helps when they begin to read printed language.
READING together – shared reading – is the single most important way to help children get ready to read.
WRITING and reading go together. Talking with your child about their scribbles and drawings helps them make the connection between spoken and printed language.
PLAYING pretend helps children think symbolically. This helps them understand that spoken and written words can stand for real objects and experiences.
Here are some tips to encourage early literacy skills
- Read together every day. Your child will learn that reading and spending time together is important. Check out the 1000 books before Kindergarten page to help make reading a fun game.
- Make reading time a warm and happy experience. If your child loses interest, put the book away for another time.
- Point to objects in the book’s illustrations and encourage your child to describe what they see.
- Tell your child the names and sounds of letters and words you see everywhere: books, food packages, traffic signs, store signs.
- Show your child how useful print is in daily life: making a grocery list, reading a recipe, following an instruction manual or finding directions on a map.
Learn more about early literacy
- Canada's Children Literacy Foundation
- Reading Rockets: Launching Young Learners
- Reading Rockets: Developmental Milestones
- Canada Pediatricians Society: Early Literacy
- Perth Care for Kids