Encouraging Literacy in Young Children

Ever wondered just how important it is for your child to learn to read and communicate, or why it is recommended to read to your child from an early age? 

From when they are born, communication cues form a way for a child to learn about themselves, their caregivers and the world around them.

While the communication may be non-verbal until they learn to speak, it is those non-verbal cues, such as the way you hold them when it is meal time or bed time, or the way you play with them when it is bath time or playtime, where they learn the various emotions and the way to convey ideas and thoughts to those around them. 

Do Motor Skills Help with Literacy Development?

We know that learning words and sounds doesn’t always happen quickly. Many children, even at the age of three and four, still have trouble forming some letter sounds, and this comes down to developing motor skills.

Without the correct motor skills, a child’s tongue can’t make the movements needed to form the different sounds required to speak certain words. 

So how do we develop those motor skills? Reading books like The Wonky Donkey or the Dr Seuss collection helps children practice sounds that may be tricker to learn, and it does it in a fun and interesting way.

How to Encourage Literacy in Your Child

Many parents consider reading to be one way to encourage literacy, but it is so much more than just learning to read and understand the written word. Literacy is really about the ability to use language actively and passively through reading, writing, speaking and listening. It is about developing the skills and knowledge to interpret and use language in all its forms. 

Saying that, there are several ways in which you can encourage literacy in your child, and it starts the day they are born. 

  1. Read aloud to your newborn. While they don’t really care what you are reading to them, it helps them become attuned to the sound of your voice, and the tone in your language. Armed with the knowledge that a baby is born recognising the voice of its mother, many parents believe in reading to their child in utero. 

  2. Encourage creativity by asking your child to share a story with you. It may be as simple as asking them what they did at day care that day or what their favourite toy did during the day. Being able to create and tell a story is the first stepping stone to being able to write that story down for someone else to leave. 

  3. Record your child telling a story on your camera, phone or through the written word. These stories can then be turned into a book or animation, and your child can start to see the link between spoken stories and the written word. This is a great way to teach your child to learn new words, grammar and putting a story together so it can be understood. 

  4. Encourage your child to play with books from a young age. For babies and younger toddlers this likely means flicking pages back and forth getting a sense for each picture and the word associated with it. For older toddlers, you can introduce books with rhyming language and pictures that support the story, talk to your child about the story and asking questions. 

  5. Get your child involved in creating shopping lists, birthday cards, understanding maps, planning holidays and more. Your child will learn that language exists outside of books and can be used across a wide variety of day to day activities. 

The development of literacy skills is vital to the development of a child. The skills they learn in early childhood set the foundation for their learning in school, how to socialise with other people and developing independence. 

At Treasured Tots we believe that having a solid literacy base is important for your child not only as they go through school, but as they start to enter adulthood and the workforce. We believe in setting the grounding footwork early and do this through song, reading, talking to our children, encouraging them to share stories and more. 

Give your child a great start by encouraging literacy skills from a young age and see them develop as they grow. 

Author: Sim K