Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Building Early Literacy Skills with Preschoolers

Recently I came across a great early literacy article online entitled "5 Tips To Build Language & Early Literacy Skills With Preschoolers During Book Reading." Written by Sarah Holden, a speech-language pathologist who has worked with children in both private practice and in schools, the article recognizes the “hurry up” nature of modern life and the push for teaching children to talk and read faster and earlier. The author advocates for slowing down and spending time on developmentally appropriate early literacy and language skills that are foundational to reading.

The article gives the following five simple tips to remember when reading to children:

· Slow down – Read just one or two books at a nice pace instead of rushing through four or five. Children need time to process the words being read. Take time to look at the pictures, ask questions, talk about the story.

· Be dramatic – Use your voice to highlight new vocabulary. Point to the pictures as you read a new word. If the word isn’t depicted by the illustration, make the word come alive with actions and gestures.

· Re-read – Children need to hear new words more than a couple of times to increase their vocabulary, and children with the richest vocabularies become the best readers. It may drive you crazy to read the same story over and over, but it is good for your child!

· Describe often/ask questions occasionally – Ask questions that encourage your child to predict, describe, and make inferences about the characters' thoughts and feelings instead of yes or no questions. For example, you can ask "What do you think will happen next?" before turning the page. Spend more time talking about and commenting on the story than asking questions. You can predict what happens next, relate something in the story to your own life, relate a character from the story you’re reading to one from a book you read previously, etc.

· Draw attention to the words – Call your child’s attention to the words in the story. Read the title of the book and point to it. Point out words in bold or color or large type in the text. This will help your child understand that the words on the page have meaning (print awareness) and that oral and written language are connected.

These are just the highlights from the article. For more information, the full article can be found here.

Guest post by Allison C.

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