Early Literacy Skills: Play

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.

early literacy skills 2


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.)



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s