From the moment a child is born and we interact with them we are preparing them for literacy. The more we communicate through spoken language the better we are preparing them for reading and literacy.
A baby loves to hear your voice as it is reassuring for them that you are there. Whenever the child is awake and you are playing with them, feeding them, changing a nappy or bathing them etc. you should be talking to them. Say out loud what you are doing and name the objects and toys around them. A child talked to in this way develops a vocabulary much faster than a child who is tended to silently.
When a child hears words, they are imprinting the sounds of them on their brain and will be able to retrieve these sounds and connect them with the written word.
It is important to check a child’s hearing in the early years. We know that a child who has had blocked ears during the first years has a higher likely hood of having trouble with phonemic awareness and the move into reading.
Parents are told to read to their children every day. Reading to your child exposes them to the wonder of books and the written word. They love to sit close with you and listen to your voice.
While this activity is wonderful for bonding with your child there are things that you can do to make the experience an even better one. Always approach the reading with enthusiasm, even when you are tired, as we want to show the child that reading is joyful not just a chore we need to do.
Point to the words on the page, when you can, to show the child that it is the written words that you are saying not a made-up story from the pictures. Talk about the story too, who is doing what and why might they be doing it. Talk about the characters and how they might feel and act. Discuss what might happen next. These additional activities, while reading, will help the child with their comprehension skills and the ability to empathise with or put themselves in the characters shoes. Your child will get more out of the story and will acquire strong literacy skills even before they start to actually read the words.
Share the joy of words with your children and grandchildren and they will progress in their literacy skills easier and have lots of fun.
Thank you to the wonderful photographers on pixabay.com for some of these images.