Early Literacy Begins with You
Help your child get ready to read with simple activities every day.
Reading is essential to school success.
Learning to read begins before children start school. From the time they are infants, children learn language and other important skills that will help them learn to read. Developing early literacy skills makes it easier for children to read once they begin school.
You can help your child get ready to read.
It’s never too early or too late to help your child develop language and other early literacy skills. Here are five of the best ways for children to get ready to read.
Talking - Talking with children helps them learn oral language, one of the most critical early literacy skills. The experience of self-expression also stimulates brain development, which underlies all learning.
- Make sure your child has lots of opportunities to talk with you, not just listen to you talk.
- Stretch your child’s vocabulary. Repeat what your child says and use new words. “You want a banana? That’s a healthy choice.“
Singing - Singing, which also includes rhyming, increases children’s awareness of sensitivity to the sounds in words. This helps prepare children to decode print (written language).
- Sing the alphabet song to learn about letters.
- Clap along to the rhythms in songs so children hear the syllables in words.
Reading - Reading together, or shared reading, remains the single most effective way to help children become proficient readers.
- Read every day.
- Use books to help teach new words. Books can teach less common words, words that children may not hear in everyday conversation. As you read, talk about what these words mean.
Writing - Writing and reading go together. Writing helps children learn that letters and words stand for sounds and that print has meaning.
- Writing begins with scribbles and other marks. Encourage this by providing many opportunities to draw and write.
- Talk with your children about what they draw, and write captions or stories together. This helps make a connection between spoken and printed language.
Playing - Play is one of the primary ways young children learn about the world. General knowledge is an important literacy skill that helps children understand books and stories once they begin to read.
- Give your child plenty of playtime. Some of the best kinds of play are unstructured, when children can use their imaginations and create stories about what they’re doing.
- Encourage dramatic play. When children make up stories using puppets or stuffed animals, they develop important narrative skills. This helps children understand that stories and books have a beginning, middle, and end.
Why is it important for children to get ready to read before they start school?
Children who enter kindergarten with pre-reading skills have an advantage. They can focus on learning to read instead of first learning essential pre-reading skills. Children who start kindergarten ready to read have greater success throughout their school years.
Why are parents/caregivers so important in helping children get ready to read?
You have been your child’s teacher from the day he or she was born. You know more about your child than anyone else. You are in the best position to help your child get ready to read because:
- Young children have short attention spans. You can do activities for short bits of time throughout the day.
- You know your children best and you can help them learn in ways and at times that are easiest for them.
- Parents are tremendous role models – if your children see that you think reading is important and enjoy it, they will follow your lead.
- Children learn best by doing – and they love doing things with YOU.
Source: Public Library Association, Every Child Ready to Read
The Library is an excellent resource to support you as your child’s first and most important teacher. One can find picture stories, educational resources, storytimes, and the expertise of your local children’s librarian. The library can serve as your child’s first classroom.
Using the Library
- Get free library cards for you and your child.
- Check out books, music, and more to enjoy at home.
- Attend free storytimes.
- Find out where the board books and picture stories are.
- Visit your local library often, we have lots of programs!
Especially For Early Childhood Educators
- Get a free library card.
- Ask the children’s librarian for suggested materials to support your curriculum.
- Use the library catalog to reserve books and other materials.
- Check out books, music, and more for your center.
- Talk to the children’s librarian about programs and services for your group.
- Invite the children’s librarian to visit your center for storytime, a family literacy event, or a parent meeting.
- Attend an Every Child Ready to Read Workshop at the library.
Every Child Ready to Read Workshops
Do you work with children ages birth to five in a childcare or family day care center in Hamilton County? If so, you are invited to participate in our Every Child Ready to Read workshops. For more information contact Keith Armour by phone (513-369-6962) or email. Additional resources:
- Preschool Language and Literacy
- Talking and Books: Language is the Key (DVD)
- Beyond Bedtime Stories: A Parent’s Guide to Promoting Reading, Writing, and Other Literacy Skills from Birth to 5 by V. Susan Bennett-Armistead
- The Big Book of Children’s Reading Lists: 100 Great, Ready-to-Use Book Lists for Educators, Librarians, Parents, and Children by Nancy J. Keane
- Association for Library Service to Children “Born to Read” brochures