One of the main parents’ concerns today has to do with early literacy: what can I do to stimulate my child’s literacy skills (the ability to learn and write) when he or she is still a toddler or hasn’t learnt to read yet?
Actually, literacy skills start to develop from the baby’s birth. We can start by observing our baby and how she or he is communicating through sounds and gestures. Nevertheless, it’s usually not good to push children to read until they are, more or less, 6 years old. Formal lessons when they are very little normally make them feel frustrated and confused because a lot of them don’t feel ready or don’t have the necessary skills to read and write yet.
We recommend basing early literacy on playlearning and learning-by-doing: creativity, curiosity, bonding with their parents… It should come in a natural and intuitive way.
The best thing to do would be to adapt to every child’s needs and skills when it comes to literacy, stimulating the development of their own capacities, so there’s not a right or wrong age to learn to read and write.
But, let’s be realistic: at many schools, lessons are not personalized, so all the children do the same activities and learn to do the same things at the same time, also when it comes to early literacy. Besides, a baby or toddler can be exposed to more than one language at home, which means he or she will likely develop early literacy in both languages.
So, what can we do to help our children evolve their early literacy capability? Giving them the tools and opportunities it’s vital, as it helps them to be able to communicate, and it’s also essential for school readiness. Immersing them in the reading of books and the use of pencil and paper are the pillars.
Let’s check out some literacy activities for toddlers, preschoolers, and kindergarteners, which are mainly based on playlearning and games, and will develop their skills without even realizing.
12 Literacy Activities for Toddlers, Preschoolers, and Kindergarteners
- Read to your child: Parents that love reading frequently have children that also do. Reading to your child since he or she is a little baby has a lot of perks: it nurtures your kid’s language and listening skills, developing a love of reading. Let your child hold the book while you are reading it. This is a list of great books for early literacy.
- Chat, chat, and chat: Children develop more vocabulary and use more structured sentences the more their parents talk with them. Make the most out of the moments you spend with your kid (commutes, bath time…) and chat with her or him. Also, this will help you identify her needs and interests and translating them into words.
- Visit a bookstore or library: Looking for new books or stories your child is interested in is a great way to know more about her or his interests. At libraries, you can choose some stories, sit and read with them too. Other children and parents can even join you.
- Listen to audiobooks: Audiobooks can help make your kid a better reader. Actually, multisensory reading (eyes and ears) can improve your child’s decoding skills and comprehension, as well as understanding new words and vocabulary, and learn more about phonetics.
- Look and identify pictures in books: The child can relate them to the real world. For example, if the book shows a cat and you see a cat in the street, later on, help your kid make the connection between both: print represents ideas of items in the real world, and many children understand this concept within their first 18 months.
- Sing songs and recite rhymes: Nursery rhymes and songs are a great way to expose your children to new vocabulary, as they are short and easy to repeat over and over again, and kids love repetition.
- Play and draw with different materials: Strengthen your kid’s inner motor abilities by playing with materials such as playdough or sand; and encourage them to crawl with crayon pencils. It will help him or her to learn how to hold it and write when the time is right.
- Label things: For example, at home. Take labels and write the names of the things and objects. Then, stick them on each one of them, so your kid can look at the names and connect them when he learns to read and write. Point out and name the different objects, repeating the word after.
- Ask questions while you read or observe the world: Help your children understand what you’re reading or seeing by asking questions about it, for example: “What’s the dog doing?”. Try them to be very easy, and don’t hesitate to repeat them in a different way if your child struggles to understand in the beginning.
- Repeat: And this is precisely what we are talking about now: repeating words or phrases. It’s the best way for your kid to learn the pronunciation of the words and what they mean.
- Makeup stories: Instead of reading them in a book, you can just tell stories to your child. You can even make them up together: ask him or her questions about how the story continues.
- Play “Treasure Hunt:” Ask your child to go get a “lost” and familiar object which is in sight, like your shoe or a stuffed animal. Make sure that she or he has enough vocabulary to connect the word with the object.
Lingokids Helps Your Child Develop Early Literacy Abilities
Using Lingokids from an early age will help your kid develop early literacy in English, besides your native language. Our favorite activities to do so? Songs (especially if they have subtitles, as it will help your kid connect the sounds of the word with the actual letters that represent them); and traceables, as a great way to strengthen their motor abilities and recite the rhymes.
But, of course, you have many activities to choose from depending on your little one’s interests: our audiobooks tell amazing stories and will expose them to a lot of new vocabulary. Our videos and “The Robot Contest” episode, for example, will help them to connect the objects and characters with real life and make longer sentences.
The best thing? Our over 600 games, songs, and videos will not only boost your children’s literacy and teach him or her English, but will also develop their creativity, curiosity and critical thinking and help them understand the world around them. Playlearn and enjoy Lingokids with them and make it a great way of family bonding!
What are your favorite activities to develop your children’s early literacy? And theirs? Can you recommend others? Let us know in the comments!