What is Early Literacy?
Early Literacy is what children know about reading and writing before they actually learn to read and write. It is not teaching reading, drilling or using flashcards. Instead it is laying the foundation, so that your child has the necessary skills when he or she is developmentally ready to read.
Why is Early Literacy important?
Babies are born ready to learn. Recent research shows that babies are born with billions of brain cells called neurons. The more stimulation a baby receives through its senses, the more pathways develop between the brain cells.
Young children must develop early literacy skills in order to be successful with formal reading and writing in school. 46% of children in the United States enters kindergarten unprepared. Research shows that children who start behind typically stay behind. Providing young children with opportunities to develop early literacy skills is important to their success in school, their success learning to read, and their success in life.
Six Early Literacy Skills:
Research has shown that there are six Early Literacy skills that are important to help children develop the skills they need to succeed in school.
Letter Knowledge - Learning that each letter is distinct and that each letter has its own name and unique sound
Phonological awareness - Being able to hear and play with the smaller sounds in words
Narrative skills - Being able to describe things and events, being able to tell stories
Print Motivation - Being interested in and enjoying books
Vocabulary - Knowing the names of things
Print Awareness - Noticing print, knowing how to handle a book and knowing how to follow the words on a page
What can parents and caregivers do?
Parents and caregivers are important in helping their children get ready to read because:
- You know your children best
- Children learn best when they are in a good mood, and you know their moods best
- You can help your children learn reading skills in ways that are easiest for them
- Children learn best by doing things like this and they love doing things with you
Take every chance you have to read with your children, tell and talk about stories, say nursery rhymes and sing songs. Early literacy is not the teaching of reading. Your child will learn how to read in school. The most important thing you can do to foster early literacy is to provide an atmosphere that’s fun, verbal and stimulating. When you read, talk and play with your child, you’re stimulating the growth of your child’s brain and building the connections that will become the building blocks for reading.
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