For Parents/Early Literacy
Early Literacy Tips
Tips to work with your child to build a strong vocabulary and other language skills.
Listen as much as you talk
Talk about things your child is already interested in.
Make a conversation longer by adding new information or asking a follow-up question.
Make a point of introducing your children to other adults or children, telling one another their names.
Use meal time to ask about the day’s events.
Use drive time. (Turn off the radio.)
Reread familiar stories, and talk about the book.
Follow the child’s lead, and encourage a train of thought he or she already has.
Comment on what your child is doing. “Oh, you made a big house!”
Ask a variety of questions in conversation. (Who, What, Where, Why, What do you think?)
Ways to Read to Children
Things to do “BEFORE” you Read a Book:
- Read the title, author and illustrator’s name.
- Introduce and teach vocabulary words
Things to do “DURING” Reading a Book:
- Make predictions
- Ask questions
- Answer children’s questions
- Read with enthusiasm
- Use different voices
Things to do “AFTER” Reading a Book:
- Use sentence completion opportunities
- Do activities related to the book (retell the story, draw a picture, etc.)
Meaning Writing Activities:
Show children how you use writing:Writing your name or the child’s name on things. Making lists of things to do or items to pick up at the grocery store. Writing a note to letter. Writing in a diary. Writing events on a calendar.
Provide lots of writing materials:Have lots of paper and different kinds of paper available and accessible (for example, in the child’s room and in a play area). Have lots of pencils, crayons, markers available and accessible. Provide children with blank books to draw and write in. Provide children with office forms, phone message pads, smaller notebooks and pocket calendars.
Create reasons for your child to write:
Of course younger children won’t be able to actually write. The point is to ask them to try, help them if they ask (but don’t do it for them), encourage them to pretend to write (just like Mommy or daddy does) and praise any effort. Here are some specific suggestions:Ask your child to put their name on all art work or other creations. Have children make lists of things they want to remember, or simply to imitate you when you have a list. Ask children to write a note for a sibling, friend, grandparent or child care provider. Encourage a daily writing experience by giving children a diary and having them write in it at a regular time. (Younger children can just scribble. Older children can perhaps draw a picture and describe things that happened.) Help note children’s schedules on a calendar. What will they be doing this week? Important upcoming events can be noted.
Make writing part of their play
Children love to pretend. Add a writing element to pretend play, such as:Office or home play should include paper and pencils. A pretend restaurant can include children creating menus and taking orders on note paper. If you have a play telephone, put a phone message pad nearby with pencils and encourage notes. Provide envelopes and paper and encourage letter writing as one way pretend characters can communicate with one another.