What Is Early Literacy?

Throughout our department and in our storytimes, you might notice a phrase often repeated: early literacy. But what is early literacy? From birth, children can learn essential skills that will help them to read and write later on. Early literacy is not learning how to read and write, but giving children a foundation for learning later on. At Fremont, we use a program called Every Child Ready to Read which focuses on five skills: talking, singing, reading, writing, and playing. You may notice that you already do these things at home which is supremely reasurring! So, why are everyday activites so special?

Talking: Children learn language by listening to their parents and others talk. Building vocabulary and learning about the world around them will help your child make connections between stories and real life. Furthermore, when your child talks to you, she is engaging in self-expression and developing her narrative skills by creating her own stories. By imitating the story structure she loves, she is developing an early desire to read and reinforcing her vocabulary.

Singing: Songs are a wonderful way to slow down language and separate syllables. Most songs rhyme which allow a child to distinguish similar sounding words. All this develops phonological awareness, or the ability to hear and play with the smaller sounds in words. Most importantly, singing develops a powerful bond between caregiver and child that creates a loving environment for early literacy.

Reading: Reading together is the single most important way to help children get ready to read. Not only does it increase vocabulary, but children can develop print awareness, or knowing how to handle a book and how we follow the words on a page. Creating a fun environment for reading encourages more reading in the future.

Writing: Writing begins with scribbles, then comes letter knowledge. Children can start by knowing that letters are different from each other, and that they have different names and are related to sounds.

Playing: Children learn a lot about language through play. Play helps children learn symbolically, so they understand that spoken and written words can stand for real objects and experiences. Play also engages children in problem solving, improves social interactions, and builds comprehension for reading.

For more info and tips to promote early literacy, visit your libray today!