Supporting Emergent Literacy
Early language and literacy development begins in the first three years of life and is closely linked to a child’s earliest experience with books and stories. Recent research has proven that early literacy skills start in early infancy. In fact, we now know that children gain knowledge of reading, writing and language long before they enter kindergarten (Schickedanz, 1999.)
Understanding how the home literacy environment affects the achievement of children’s later language and emergent literacy knowledge has become a topic of increasing interest during the past three decades. The frequency of book reading, interest during book reading and overall attitude toward reading can affect the developing emergent literacy skills in young children.
Creating a literacy routine at home can provide children with meaningful reading experience and an opportunity to strengthen their attachment to their parents or other family members. A literacy routine is the regular use of a variety of techniques to enhance children’s abilities to listen, observe, imitate and develop their language, reading and writing skills. By giving children access to print and to see literate role models, all children can learn the functions of print and develop emergent literacy.
How to Create a Literate Home: Young Child and Kindergartner http://www.pbs.org/parents/education/reading-language/reading-tips/how-to-create-a-literate-home-young-child-and-kindergartner/
- Children’s Books
For young children, nursery rhymes, ABC books, informational books and storybooks are most appropriate. Kindergartners will enjoy longer stories or chapter books, and some will be able to read very easy books by themselves by the end of the year. You can look for bargain children’s books at used bookstores and yard sales, or purchase books at great prices through monthly book clubs offered through child care centers or schools.
Young children and kindergartners learn to identify the letters. In your home, it is important to have a number of types of letters that your child can move around. Alphabet blocks, foam letters for the bathtub, ABC puzzles, magnetic refrigerator letters, ABC cookie cutters, letter stamps and letter stickers are all ideal materials for children this age.
- Writing Materials
Thick markers, paint brushes, pencils and crayons are ideal for the youngest writers since they are still developing the small muscles in their hands that help them hold tools. Likewise, large paper is best for young children. Your kindergartner will be able to use standard-sized writing tools and paper. He may also enjoy it if you make a “book” for him to write in by stapling paper together. Having a model of all the letters available for young writers allows them to refer to it if they have trouble remembering letter formations.
- Reading and Writing Materials for Parents
When children see the adults around them using reading and writing in their everyday lives, they’re more likely to become readers and writers themselves. Simply having a bookshelf full of books, reading the local newspaper, and having a notepad on which you write grocery lists and phone messages shows your child that reading and writing serve valuable everyday purposes.
- Props for Pretend Play
Props such as dress-up clothes and play dishes encourage your young child or kindergartner to pretend, and pretend play actually contributes to literacy skills. Make props for pretend play from materials you already have at home. Empty cereal boxes, mom’s old necklaces and an old pot and wooden spoon make ideal items for countless make-believe scenarios.
Books and children’s music on CDs are another way for your child to enjoy stories and music. Most libraries have extensive collections of audio books and children’s music CDs to borrow.