Studies show that children need writing to help them learn to read, they need reading to help them learn to write, and they need oral language skills to help them learn about both.
That circle just makes my head spin!
And you know what? The responsibility of providing a firm foundation in early literacy sits squarely on the shoulders of their caregivers.
That means us, moms!
CREATING A FOUNDATION FOR READING IN PRESCHOOL
But what the heck is early literacy?
“Early literacy” is the term used for early reading and writing skills in preschool.
As a mom, that means that everything I do — from writing my son’s name on his paper to pointing out the words on the signs in the grocery store to playing with letter magnets on the fridge — helps to build his foundation for reading.
These early childhood skills help kids become active learners who are able to successfully navigate written and oral language.
So, how do you create that strong foundation for reading in your kids? It all starts with introducing them to the world around them.
Some affiliate links below.
HOW TO DEVELOP EARLY READING SKILLS IN PRESCHOOL
EXPOSURE TO BOOKS
It’s never too early to start reading to your child. Even if your baby is still in his bouncy seat or your toddler is playing with his toys and barely seems to be listening, you can still break out a book and read to him.
Infants and toddlers can benefit greatly from hearing new vocabulary and listening to vocal expressions! I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I read, “Going on a Bear Hunt,” to my boys when they were little, because it has such fun opportunities to vary your voice as you read.
But reading aloud without interaction is not enough to build a strong, solid foundation. We have to engage preschoolers as the book is being read by asking questions that help them connect vocabulary to the world around them. Some questions could be, “Have you ever been on an airplane like the character?” or “What do oranges taste like to you?”
Questions that encourage the development of critical thinking are also vital to developing a strong reader. You can ask, “What do you think will happen next?” or “How do you think the character felt?”
Studies show that children make significantly more gains when read to and asked questions versus when they are passive listeners. That means that we have to expose our kids to a wide variety of reading material and engage them through thoughtful, interactive questions. Ask them what they think about the book and share in their excitement about what’s coming next.
Technology has given us parents a new avenue for supporting our children’s early literacy development.
One of our favorites is ABCmouse, an online reading program that gives kids as young as two a chance to practice letter recognition, basic phonics, and other skills.
My boys loved, loved, loved “playing” on that site, and I loved that they were really learning. For them, it was like a video game but I knew they were getting so much more out of it!
Don’t have a laptop or tablet? It’s okay! You can even download apps to your phone for them to use.
LEARNING GAMES AND ACTIVITIES
They can explore phonics and letters with crafts (break out the glitter and glue!), and engage a variety of senses to create a learning experience that lets them see, hear, smell, touch, and possibly even taste the world around them.
So, let’s play with our children more, read constantly, and ask questions that will help them understand how the world around them is connected to the written word. You have the power to create a strong foundation for reading in preschool when you begin to see early literacy in new ways.
You can do it! And, we have your back. Happy learning!