It is widely recognized that “The single most important activity for building the knowledge required for eventual success in reading is reading aloud to children. This is especially so during the preschool years.” (Becoming a Nation of Readers)
The good news is that parents, grandparents, childcare providers, and preschool teachers can use five simple practices — talking, singing, reading, writing, and playing—to develop language and pre-reading skills in children from birth to age five.
Recent research goes a step further. How we read with children is as important as how often we read with them. According to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development of the National Institutes of Health, there are six early literacy skills that parents, child care providers and any adult who works with children should be aware of to support early literacy in young children. These skills start to develop from birth!
The six skills are Print Motivation, Vocabulary, Phonological Awareness, Narrative Skills, Print Awareness, and Letter Knowledge. There are activities related to your child’s development over the first five years that you can do to enhance each skill. For example, phonological awareness is the ability to hear and play with the smaller sounds in words. Singing with babies and young children helps them hear the rhythm of language. Because each syllable is a different note, they begin to hear words broken down into parts. Listening to and saying rhymes help children hear rhyming words. This helps them realize that words are made up of smaller sounds. As they get older, there are many words games you can play together, breaking words apart and putting them together, making silly rhymes.
You can learn more about all six early literacy skills and the ways you can support your child’s early learning by asking a Youth Librarian to point you in the direction of resources for selecting books and materials, early childhood development, preparing for kindergarten, and information about child-related events at the Keene Public Library.
The information presented here is from the Every Child Ready to Read @ your library® early literacy project of the Public Library Association (PLA) and the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), in partnership with the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), a division of the National Institutes of Health. PLA and ALSC are divisions of the American Library Association.
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