Your child may not learn to read till they are around age 5, but your child is learning from the time they are born. The foundation of good literacy skills is started while the child is still young. Early literacy skills are things like communication, recognition of letters, numbers and words (not reading, but recognizing), storytelling, being able to narrate what was said, or read, learning to rhyme, and recognize sounds.
Here are some simple things you can do to teach literacy skills:
Read to your child!
Start at a young age, even infants and toddlers can learn to love books. When your child is around 3 or 4 start reading good quality literature to them. Some good ones to start with are Charlotte’s Web, Stuart Little, or the Little House Series. Reading is such an important tool in a child’s life and can open up a whole new world to a young child. Studies have shown that exposing children to reading before preschool greatly improves their academic performance when they start elementary school.
Give them books-lots of them!
Don’t feel obligated to buy them though, get in the habit of taking your kids to the library every week (or at least once a month) and checking out great books for kids. When they are young they may just look at the pictures. They may hold them upside down, or even teeth on them. This is okay; the point is getting them in their hands while they are little.
Talk to your child about letters and words they see every day.
There are letters and words on road signs, store signs, labels on foods, cover pages on books and magazines. Point out the letters and words to your child. Look at the EXIT and STOP signs and explain what they mean and how the letters come together to make an important word.
Make a game out of rhyming words.
Say funny phrases like “The man has a fan and a tan” or “The fat cat sat on the hat”. Point out the words that rhyme in the phrase, and see if they can come up with one of their own.
Use claps, jumps or pats to teach syllables.
Start with your child’s name. For example “Alyson” has 3 syllables so we would jump 3 times (AL-Y-SON). Then you could move on to your name, the dog’s name, what you are eating for dinner, etc.
Teach through play!
When teaching them to write their name or learning the alphabet, use a stick and let them play in the dirt! What kid doesn’t love to play outside? This is a simple way to get them learning while they are up and moving.
All of these skills can be taught at home with little or no money spent on “curriculum” or “early learning tools”. Learning through play is important for young children and these are just a few tips you can use to teach literacy skills and help your child learn.
Author Bio: Misty Bailey and her husband have been married for over a decade and have three beautiful children. She shares her struggles with time management, becoming unglued and finding joy in the everyday moments on her blog Joy in the Journey.