Early Literacy Tips

  • It is never too early to start reading with your child. Even young infants can benefit from exposure to books and reading. Parents and teachers are essential partners in any child’s development of reading, writing, and language skills, which can lead to school success. To promote a love of reading for your children, please read the following tips and ideas.

    Preschool Literacy Tips for Families

    Parents and teachers are essential partners in a preschool child’s development of reading, writing, and language skills. Family members can do the following activities at home to encourage preschool literacy. Be a model for your child. Children learn that reading and writing are important when they see adults using these skills!

    • Spend time in conversation with your child to develop vocabulary and knowledge of the world. Label what you see and explain how things work. Oral Language
    • Play with language to help your child listen to rhymes and letter sounds. Read nursery rhymes and other rhyming books. See how many rhyming words you can think of together: hop, top, bop, mop, lop, stop, drop, and flop. Use words that start with the same letter (alliteration) and help your child to hear the letter sounds- ex: 'Big Bob bounced a ball'. Phonological Awareness
    • Teach your child about letters and words. Notice words and letters in the world around you. Read cereal boxes and favorite snacks. Post your child’s name in his or her room. Point out the letters in your child’s name that you see in signs and billboards around town. Alphabet Knowledge
    • Read aloud with your child every day. Talk about the stories you read to make them more meaningful to your child. Children will learn about books and print. For example, we read the words, rather than the pictures, from left to right, and from the front of a book to the back. Print Concepts
    • Encourage your child to draw and write by allowing access to pencils, crayons, markers, chalk, and a variety of paper. Activities to develop the muscle strength needed to be able to write successfully include: playing with play dough, tearing and crumpling paper, scooping and pouring, using Lego blocks, sticking stickers, and using tongs. Help your child send a letter or write an important list. Writing
    • Use your child’s native language when you talk, read, write, play, and sing. This will create a strong sense of self and support your child’s roots, in addition to building a solid foundation of basic language concepts. Remember that you are the first and most important educator in your child’s life. English Language Learners


    Making Reading and Writing Meaningful

    Choose activities that best suit your child’s interests.

    • Call attention to the different types of written materials in your home such as labels, newspapers, magazines, and greeting cards.
    • Point out print in the environment such as billboards, menus, signs, and names of restaurants.
    • Place name cards of family members on the refrigerator. Children can use magnetic letters to spell the names underneath.
    • Provide print materials such as menus, tickets, maps, and catalogs for children to use in pretend play.
    • Involve children as you create a grocery list. Talk about the names of some of the letters and words as you write them.
    • Help children “read” labels as they shop.
    • Give them coupons and ask them to help find the items.
    • Cook with children and let them help you follow the recipe.
    • Ask children to help you identify cereal boxes during breakfast.
    • Cut labels from snack boxes such as Teddy Grahams and glue them into a homemade book titled Snacks We Like.
    • Hold up two cans of vegetables and ask, “Should we have carrots or green beans?” Point out the words for the vegetables.
    • Make a scrapbook together after a family event. Let children dictate what to write under the photos.
    • Let children help you look up phone numbers. Talk about what you are writing as you jot down names and numbers.
    • Fix a container of “office materials” for children to use. Choose from materials such as pens, pencils, scented markers, glitter crayons, white paper, colored paper, fancy paper with designs, envelopes, hole puncher, tape dispenser, stapler, stamps, stamp pads, stickers, and scissors.
    • Help children make cards for holiday and family events.
    • It is important to accept and encourage all attempts from your children as they begin to write. As they practice and feel successful, they will progress at their own pace from the scribbling stage to writing recognizable letters.
    • Ask a relative to be a pen pal. Children can draw pictures or copy simple words to mail to the person. Children enjoy drawing and writing when they know they will get a letter in return.
    • Talk to children about the letters and words you are writing when you write a message to a family member. Encourage them to help you write part of the message.
    • Encourage children to draw pictures and dictate stories to you. They enjoy seeing their words written down.
    • Put notes from you in children’s lunch boxes or book bags.
  • Top Ten Tips to Encourage a "LOVE of Reading" with your Child

    10. Vinyl or cardboard books with simple pictures are best for young babies.

    9. Books with photo pictures of faces and other babies are especially appealing.

    8. Cardboard and “chunky” books are good for learning to turn pages.

    7. Choose books with animal pictures for older babies and make animal sounds while you look at the book.

    6. Make sharing books with your child a part of your daily routine - especially at naptime and bedtime.

    5. Books with rhyming words or repeated phrases are fun. (The repetition helps make brain connections for language.)

    4. As your child grows, take trips to the library and choose books together.

    3. Talk about the book with your child. Ask her what part she liked best.

    2. Continue reading aloud to your child even though they may be able to read for themselves.

    And the number one way to get young children on the road to reading is:

    1. Read together EVERY day!