Simply talking, singing, playing sound and word games, reading, writing and drawing with your child are easy ways to build a firm literacy foundation. Your usual everyday activities, like going to the shop or library, as well as those special treats –like museum or zoo trips – all provide opportunities to develop literacy.
I have listed a variety of activities to help you develop literacy in the sections below. The activities in this article are aimed at preschool age children but are still suitable for older children – all you need to do is make them a little more challenging.
Because of busy lifestyles, many parents feel they haven’t got time to dedicate to literacy development activities. I would like to say though that you don’t need lots of time. Small five minutes blocks a few times a day is often more than enough. The key is to be creative and to use all the different opportunities you come across to help your child learn. These opportunities can take the form of a trip to the shop to a story before bed.
Talking and singing with children helps children to learn about sounds and how sounds come together to form words and therefore, language. By spending some time teaching your child language games and songs, you will be creating opportunities for him to develop listening and speaking skills.
Daily reading with your child helps develop his vocabulary, ability to listen and comprehend, and ability to understand the purpose of print. You will also be helping to set up a lifelong positive attitude towards reading.
Don’t worry if your young child becomes distracted when you’re reading, or if you don't get through the whole book. Experiment with different books to see what he likes.
From an early age, children love to try to ‘write’ like their older siblings or parents. Play-writing (scribbles) and drawing helps your child develop the fine motor skills needed for writing with pencils and pens later. It also helps him begin to recognise and remember letter shapes.
Remember that literacy is not a subject to be taught. It is all around you-you just need to take the opportunity to draw your child's attention to it.
I am a preschool and primary school teacher and mum to 3 children. I have been involved in education since 1997 and have trained in a variety of educational specialist areas. It is with this expertise that I write articles to help parents and educators provide quality learning experiences for the children in their care.