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What is Early Literacy?
Early literacy is, very simply, what children know about reading or writing before they can actually read and write.
When children have learned early literacy skills before they enter kindergarten, they are at a distinct advantage when learning to read.
The development of language and literacy begins at birth, with parents and caregivers serving as a child's first teacher. We are here to support your family in this lifelong learning process!
Build Skills at the FFL
- Attend our storytimes & skills building programs for babies and up
- Check out our Born to Read (birth to age 2) and Ready to Read (ages 2 & up) kits
- Check out picture books, board books, music CDs and more
- Visit our play-to-learn spaces
- Enroll your child in our 1,000 Books Before Kindergarden program. Participants get a free tote bag, reading log, and board book. For more info or to sign up, ask at the Information Desk.
Practice At Home!
Child development experts have identified five simple activities that can help get your child ready to read:
Children learn language by listening. They learn new words and absorb general knowledge about the world around them. Talking to your child can help them develop vocabulary. The experience of self-expression also stimulates brain development, which underlies all learning.
*Tip - Stretch your child's vocabulary by repeating what they say and adding new words. "You want a banana? That's a healthily choice."
Singing slows down language and helps children hear the different sounds that make up words. Singing, which also includes rhymes, also develops an awareness of rhythm and syllables, increasing childrenís awareness of and sensitivity to the sounds in words. This helps prepare children to decode print (written language).
*Tip - Sing the alphabet song to learn letters & sounds.
Reading with and to your child will help them learn how a book works and what print looks like. Children who enjoy being read to are more likely to enjoy learning to read themselves.Reading together, or shared reading, remains the single most effective way to help children become proficient readers.
*Tip - When you finish reading a book, ask your child to retell the story.
Reading and writing go hand in hand and both communicate information. Children can learn pre-reading skills by practicing drawing and scribbling. It also helps improve hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills.
*Tip - Have children sign their drawings and tell stories about what they drew.
Play helps children think symbolically about real objects and experiences. It allows them to use spoken and written words to communicate about real life. Play is one of the primary ways young children learn about the world. General knowledge is an important literacy skill that helps children understand books and stories once they begin to read.
*Tip - Encourage dramatic play to foster narrative skills.