Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Play with a Purpose!

When promoting early literacy, the five practices are key—talking, reading, writing, singing, and playing. Playing is one thing that, as parents, you are constantly doing with your children. Thank goodness, too, because that interaction is incredibly important on so many levels. Even though play of any kind is beneficial, you can target certain areas of development by playing with a purpose in mind. Here are some ideas to reinforce different early literacy skills:

Phonological Awareness (hearing the smaller sounds in words): Play rhyming games with your child. Take turns thinking up words that rhyme with a chosen word. Or, play I Spy, giving clues like, “I spy something blue that rhymes with _______.”

Vocabulary: When your baby’s playing with a toy, use descriptive words to tell her what it is, how it looks, how it feels, etc. Hearing those new words will be a huge vocabulary-booster.

Print Awareness (knowing that print is everywhere and understanding that it has meaning): When you’re engaging in pretend play, make a menu for your restaurant or make labels for items in your pretend grocery store. This will help your child understand that the written words represent something else.

Letter Knowledge: Play with blocks of various color, shape, and size, and practice categorizing them. This will help your child when she starts trying to distinguish between different letters.

Narrative Skills: Act out stories together. You can even jazz it up by adding puppets or props. This is great storytelling practice for your little one.

Print Motivation (interest in/enjoyment of books and reading): Read a book using fun, silly voices. Your child will beg for more!

These activities are not only fun, but they’ll also help your little one prepare to read. So, don’t just play—play with a purpose!

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