Early Literacy


6 Early Literacy Skills6 Early Literacy Skills

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6 Early Literacy Skills

According to research there are six pre-reading skills that children must learn in order to learn to read. Early Literacy is what children know about reading and writing before they can actually read and write. Research shows that children get ready to read years before they start school. You can help your children learn important skills now so that they can become good readers.

Narrative Skills: Being Able to describe things and events and tell stories.
--Tell your child stories
-- Ask your child to tell you about something that happened today.
-- Read books together. Stories help children understand that things happen in order first, next, last.
-- Read a book that you have read before.  Switch what you do – you be the listener and let your children tell you the story.
--Being able to tell or retell a story helps children understand what they read.

Print Motivation: Being interested in and enjoying books
--Make book-sharing time a special time for closeness between you and your child.
-- Let your child see you reading.
-- Visit your public library often.
-- Children who enjoy books will want to learn how to read.

Vocabulary: Knowing the names of things
--Talk with your child about what is going on around you. Talk about feelings – yours and your child’s.
When your child talks with you add more detail to what she says.
-- Speak in the language that is most comfortable for you.
-- Read together every day.  When you talk about the story and pictures, your child hears and learns more words.
-- Research shows that children who have larger vocabularies are better readers. Knowing many words helps children recognize written words and understand what they read.

Phonological Awareness: Being able to hear and play with the sounds in smaler words
--Say nursery rhymes and make up your own silly, nonsense rhymes
-- Sing songs.  Songs have different notes for each syllable in a word, so children can hear the different sounds in words.
-- Play word games such as, “What sounds like ‘ran’?” or “What starts with the sam sound as ‘ball’?”
-- Say rhymes and sing songs in the language that is most comfortable for you.
-- Being able to hear the sounds that make up words helps children sound out words as they begin to read.

Letter Knowledge: Knowing that letters are different from each other, knowing their names and sounds, and recognizing that letters are everywhere.
--Help your child see different shapes and the shapes of letters.
-- Talk about what is the same and what is different between two things.
-- Write your child’s name, especially the first letter.
-- Make letters from clay or use magnetic letters.
-- Point out and name letters when reading alphabet books, signs, or labels.
-- Read alphabet books with clear letters and pictures.
-- Knowing the names and sounds letters helps children figure out how to sound out words.

Print Awareness: Noticing print, knowing how to handle a book and knowing how to follow the words on a page.
-- Read aloud everyday print – labels, signs, lists, menus.  Print is everywhere!
-- Point to some of the words as you say them, especially words that are repeated.
-- Let your child turn the pages.
-- Let your child hold the book and read or tell the story.
-- Hold the book upside down. See if your child turns the book around.
-- Being familiar with printed language helps children comfortable with books and understand that print is useful.



The Early Literacy Initiative
Every Child Ready to Read
Chicago, IL, 2001