“Early literacy” is a term you have probably heard many times. You may wonder what it really is. What early literacy is not, is the teaching of reading. Rather, early literacy refers to what children know about reading and writing before they actually learn to read and write.
Early literacy is the building of a foundation upon which children will be ready to learn to read and write when they are taught.
Literacy begins the minute a child is born. The conversations, activities, and experiences to which a child is exposed and engages in all contribute to the early literacy foundation.
Play is not only fun for children, but the forum through which they extract the early literacy concepts, skills, and positive attitudes that will inspire subsequent reading and writing achievement.
PLAY, TALK, READ, SING – every day! Engage your child in stimulating conversations and activities that facilitate exploration and discovery. Encourage creativity and imagination. Foster a love for learning early on.
Read aloud each day, but also make a practice to engage your child in the story such as asking questions and talking about the characters. Taking reading this step further helps to promote critical and imaginative thinking.
Letter I loves books, and he hopes you do too! Keeping lots of books accessible to your child will help promote a love for books, and is truly one of the most valuable gifts you can give to promote a love for learning.
Are you loving your library? Include regular visits to your local library as part of your weekly schedule.
In addition to checking out books, take advantage of the story times and other children’s programs that are available, all of which provide a variety of literacy-rich, hands-on experiences in an interactive and caring environment. Best of all, they’re free! And don’t forget the social and communication skills that will also be fostered during these times.
So, to sum it all up, early literacy is comprised of the everyday interactions a child experiences through conversations and activities in his/her environment. Play, engage, stimulate, and of course pay attention.
Opportunities to foster early literacy are abundant. They are literally everywhere. Seize them. Enjoy them. Treasure them.