Hi everyone, since March is literacy month, many schools have been doing various things to promote literacy in school aged children. Even within our speech offices, we have been promoting literacy by rewarding reading, as well as reading to our patients in the waiting rooms. Today I wanted to share some tips for improving literacy in younger children, as I think that literacy skills in the 0-3 year population might sometimes be overlooked!
Early literacy skills does not mean reading and writing, but the exposure to materials such as books, paper and crayons are excellent building blocks for language, reading and development. Here are some things you can do with your little one to promote early literacy skills:
Make Sharing Books Part of Every Day
- Make reading a part of everyday by reading or sharing stories at bedtime or on the bus.
- Talk or sing about the pictures. You don’t have to read word for word to tell the story.
- Even a few minutes of reading is okay! Many young children can only pay attention for so long, and that’s okay. As they get older they will be able to sit and pay attention for longer.
- Let your child manipulate the book, hold it, or turn the pages.
- If you are reading the story word for word, run your finger along the words as you read from left to right.
- Create voices for story characters to make the story come alive.
- Ask questions and allow your child to ask and answer questions too. Use this opportunity to talk about familiar activities, people and objects that could help to create a personal connection with the story.
- Let your child tell the story. Children can make up their own story by looking at the pictures, or if they’ve memorized the story they can retell it from memory in their own words!
Last but not least, remember to have fun. Learning by copying the behaviors of others is one of the main ways children learn. Children can learn from you that books are fun. This is an important ingredient in learning to read.
I hope you enjoy fostering your child’s literacy skills not only in the month of March but all year round!