Early literacy development is a fundamental component of your child’s overall development. It helps children learn how to communicate and socialize with others, how to read and write, and more – plus helps set them up for success in school and life.
So… what are activities you can do at home with your little one to help develop these important skills?
1. Create a Literate Home Environment
According to PBS Parents, a literate home is an environment that encourages children to learn to read and write and become lifelong readers and writers. Transforming your home into a more literate environment is not only simple but also inexpensive! The goal is to create an environment where everyone – adults and children - read and write, and that provides children with opportunities to see and experience the joys of reading and writing. Ensure you have plenty of books for all ages, writing and art materials, and toys. Simple props for pretend play, foam letters and numbers, and videos can also help encourage your child’s engagement with literacy!
2. Create a Comfortable & Welcoming Reading Space
Set aside space in your home designated just for a reading area! Ask for help from your little one and ask what they would like to include in it. Perhaps they would like a canopy hanging in a corner alongside some of their favorite stuffed animals and books. Letting your child design and give you input on what they want in the creative space will make them feel that this is truly their special area. Creating a comfortable reading area will also allow your child to feel more secure and imaginative while reading!
3. Start a Book Club for Children & Parents
With the recent rise of Book Clubs over the last few years, did you know that mother-daughter, father-son and parent-child book clubs have also become popular? Starting a Book Club with other local parents and children is a great opportunity to not only enhance early literacy skills – but also social skills. By joining or creating a Book Club, you and your child can meet and make new friends while reading and discussing books together. In addition, you’ll be creating classic memories your little one will treasure for the rest of their life in addition to developing a deeper love and appreciation for reading!
4. Read Aloud To Your Child
When you read books out loud to your child, you are modeling fluency, accuracy and expression so that they can learn to read like you do. It’s important for parents to use fun voices for different characters and have fun with the rhyming or pattern-type books. Getting into character while reading will spark your child’s imagination and creativity, exciting them about the wonders held within stories, books and reading itself!
5. Focus on the Pictures as Much as the Words
Illustrations convey so much of the story in children’s books. As you read with your child, take time to explore the pages and take a ‘picture walk’ through the book. Doing this with a new book is a wonderful way for children to engage with the story by describing what they see and making predictions along the way. What a wonderful way to build excitement for a new book and help your child see how the words and images are connected!.
We hope these tips are useful as you think about ways to support early literacy while at home. From creating a home that encourages a love for reading, to engaging in fun reading activities with family, friends, and neighbors, you can easily support your child’s early literacy skill development and joy of reading!