Wednesday, August 10, 2016

What Are Early Literacy Skills?

Research has shown that there are six early literacy skills that give children a head start in reading readiness. These skills are print motivation, print awareness, narrative skills, vocabulary, letter knowledge, and phonological awareness. Print motivation, which is being interested in and enjoying reading, and is a skill that can be developed from birth. Here are some ideas to encourage that love of books and reading in your child:

Read aloud, early and often! The primary goal of reading aloud to children in the first three years of life is to encourage them to love books. Keep books in the car and diaper bag to be ready to read anytime, anywhere. Keep books in your child’s toy area for your child to explore.

Keep storytime informal. Young children have short attention spans and can sit still for only a few minutes. It’s okay to not finish a book if your child gets fussy or isn’t enjoying it. Reading shouldn’t be forced. You want your child to associate books with happiness, not stress. Reading should be fun for both of you!

Read at your child’s pace. Some kids will zoom through a book and others will want to spend lots of time on each illustration. It’s okay to skip pages or read the same page (or look at the same picture) over and over again. You might even want to take a picture walk through the book, just looking at and talking about the illustrations. You can tell the story or have the child tell the story from the pictures.

Choose age-appropriate books, and let your child help choose when he/she is old enough. Babies like books with large, high-contrast pictures and very simple stories. Babies learn through touch and will enjoy board books and touch-and-feel books like Pat the Bunny by Dorothy Kunhardt or the That’s Not My… series by Fiona Watt. Toddlers like books about animals, nursery rhymes and other rhyming books, and books with repetitive language. They also like interactive books like lift-the-flap and pop-up books. Preschoolers will enjoy more advanced books with longer stories and a plot. They love silly or funny books like Mo Willems’ Elephant and Piggie series.

Last but not least, let your child see you reading on a regular basis. Babies and young children are very interested in what their parents are doing and want to imitate them. Seeing you read can motivate your child to want to read too!

Guest post by Allison C. 

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