Early Literacy is everything that a child knows about reading and writing before they are able to read and write. These skills are important because early literacy creates the foundation for your child to be a successful reader.
There are six basic skills that a child will learn as a result of early literacy. They are print motivation, vocabulary, narrative skills, phonological awareness, print awareness, and letter knowledge. Ways to build their skills include talking, singing, reading, writing/drawing, and playing.
Play provides opportunities for children to learn new concepts and ideas. It should also be fun and keep your child engaged and wanting to play more.
- Research has shown the importance of play to childhood development, because they learn new skills, like problem solving and communication with others.
- Play helps children begin to think symbolically. This means that they are able to imagine one item as another, like a box is a car.
- Symbolic thinking is important because it is the same type of thinking that is used in reading.
- Dramatic play is when children act out stories, songs, or events.
- Children can pretend to be a something fantastical, like a superhero, or they can pretend to be someone well known to them, like a parent or guardian.
- This builds background knowledge, which helps them learn how stories work and increases their pre-reading skills, which will help your child when he/she begins school.
The Handley Library offers the 1000 Books before Kindergarten program. Although 1,000 books seems like a huge number, if you read one book a day (or the same book day after day) you could finish in less than three years. With ten books a week, you will be done in less than two years. For more information, you can visit a Youth Services Desk at any branch.
A great resource to promote early literacy is DayByDayVA. This website provides a Family Literacy Calendar, which has songs, stories, videos, and more to help promote early literacy. Each day, there are different activities for you and your child to do together. (Note: As of November 2017, Tumblebooks is no longer supported by the Library of Virginia or Handley Regional Library.)