While writing and reading aren’t usually taught after preschool, little ones can start developing the skills they need to become good readers at an early age. Early literacy skills are pre-literacy skills that will grow into full-fledged literacy skills later on; pre-literacy skills include print motivation, phonological awareness, letter knowledge, print awareness, learning vocabulary, and narrative skills. These factors will help children learn to read.
Parents who nurture a love of reading to their children at a very young age give their kids the edge and foundation they need to create strong literacy skills essential for success in school and life.
Furthermore, working to achieve early literacy milestones can help parents determine the first signs of learning difficulties that may be present in a child, such as dyslexia. So your little ones can receive the support they need when they first start to write and read.
10 Best Ways to Cultivate a Child’s Early Literacy Skills?
1. Expand Your Kids Vocabulary
Nurturing a kid’s vocabulary is essential because it will make reading and writing known words easier. Early reading requires moving slowly from letter to letter or decoding. If the parts are added to something familiar, the process is a lot more enjoyable.
Parents can help their kids learn words by teaching them how to explain the things around them. Books are a good way to introduce vocabulary to kids. As simple as talking to kids; they can learn to recognize words and what they stand for.
There are many books you can use to help your child learn new words, examples of this are the children’s book by Dr Seuss that uses a certain set of vocabulary words repeated over and over again. Mastering the vocabulary can make life easier for kids learning to read as it provides them with familiarity with words on any given page. It also allows kids to focus on their cognitive resources on the new words they encounter in a text.
2. Encourage a Love for Books
It is challenging to learn to read, but it is harder if forced upon you. Introducing books at an early age will help them to develop deep interests in books. In addition, it will help them become curious about print and encourage them to learn to read.
Having a bunch of books in your home is an advantage to get the ball rolling. You can read to infants, toddlers and preschoolers. The earlier you start introducing books to your kids, the better they’ll get at reading.
Children’s books often contain pop-ups, bright colors, and other tactile learning tools, which can help stimulate the development of kid’s multiple skills at a time. Reading with your child will also give you an opportunity to work on vocabulary.
3. Show Children Plenty of Print
Parents should make every effort to set up an environment for their children to develop early literacy skills. It is better to use print-rich environments because it helps your children learn about the world around them.
Parents can help pre-literacy skills by ensuring there is plenty of print in your child’s field of vision. Looking for words on cereal boxes, clothing tags, poster signs, and even text in books and pointing them out encourages kids to pay attention to print.
4. Teach Kids the ABC’s
When you expose kids to enough print, at some point, they will start to determine common patterns, such as the letters of the alphabet. The best way to teach kids how to write letters is by example. You can start with your child’s name as it will be a lot more fun for them. As soon as they know their name, they will be more interested in writing letters.
Children learn letters by playing with puzzles, looking at shapes, studying the pages of their moms’ books, and talking about different forms.
Additionally, singing the alphabet and reading the alphabet and children’s books will ensure children get plenty of practice identifying letters to prepare them for decoding and writing later.
5. Playing With Sounds
Kids who primarily focus on phonics (sound-recognition) and vocabulary keenly observe the changes in the sounds of words. Listening to its sounds will help your children become better listeners and good readers.
Singing songs, such as Old MacDonald Had a Farm, is excellent for helping children with sound recognition and think (Ee-I-ee-I-oo), as are kid’s books with exaggerated animal sounds that may not make much sense to the adult eye.
6. Present Narratives to Kids
Narratives are one of the fundamental elements of learning. As children develop their interest in the world around them, they begin using ideas to create stories. Likewise, letters can tell stories, which will help kids discover more about themselves and the surrounding environment.
Montessori-Friendly Books are very good for orienting early literacy skills because they have narrative structures that help kids discover more about themselves and their environment. Children’s books also teach cause and effect relationships, morals, and proper behavior. Your child can start with simple storybooks and then progress into chapter books that contain longer narratives.
7. Play Games With Pre-literacy Skills
You can play games with your child that will help them develop pre-literacy skills. For example, you can play tic-tac-toe, where they are the reader, and you are the writer, or you can even use a blank piece of paper to write letters of the alphabet on it.
You can play Memory with cards, identifying the word on one card by finding its match on another card held by your child. It is also great for teaching kids important sound-recognition prompts like “beginning” and “end”.
8. Talks To Kids Often
It is a good time to talk to kids, especially their opinion about a certain situation. As much as possible, explain the meaning of what you say to them. It will help them develop a deeper understanding, making it easier for them to learn how to read and write.
You can also keep reading with your baby as much as possible, even if they are now older and already at the stage where they can understand pictures. It may be easier for them to understand what you’re saying if you sit next to them both reading together. Or you can also have them help you read, so they can recognize words on their own.
9. Check for Comprehension
After reading a book to your child, ask them what they think the story is about. Ask them questions such as: “Where did the characters go?”, “What happened next?” and “Who do you think might like this story?”.
Answer your child by giving them a summary of what happened. It will help them remember the plot of the book, and it also gives you a chance to clarify any misunderstandings they may have.
10. Create and Encourage Writing Opportunities
Pre-literacy skills are not restricted to reading. A lot of the communication with most kids involves pictures, drawings or scribbles, most of which are not written words. You can encourage your child’s creative expression by giving them opportunities to write their names and drawings. Signs can be written with crayons or markers on large pieces of poster board glued onto hardwood pieces for display. You can also practice writing names on birthday cards.
Encourage your children to write stories using simple sentences, but don’t worry about spelling mistakes at this stage because they often come when kids are trying something new.
Having a child who is a good reader will help them achieve greater success, not only in school but also in their adult life. The earlier you start, the better it is for your child’s success. If you want to know more about pre-literacy skills and develop them early on, stay updated with our articles.