I am passionate about literacy. I am also passionate about it being a fun part of everyday life. My view of early literacy is one where Children are having a good time playing and learning. It is a part of daily life not a 30 minute block of time. I would love to share some things with you that I do everyday to help my children be literate.
I already have said that exposure to letters is very important for later reading. I love to have alphabet books that introduce my children to objects that begin with each letter. I exposed my two year old to books like this from the time he was a baby (if you haven’t, don’t worry just start now).
When he began to be able to talk we began playing a game every day. I would start like this.
Me: A is for /a/,/a/,/a/ apple.
G: No A is for /a/,/a/,/a/ alligator.
Me: No A is for /a/,/a/,/a/ Ant.
G: A is for /a/,/a/,/a/ ape.
Me: Hmmm B is for /b/,/b/,/b/ box.
G: No B is for /b/,/b/,/b/ boy.
And we just play it throughout the day. After lunch I might say K is for /k/,/k/,/k/ Kangaroo. Or when he wakes up from his nap F is for /f/,/f/,/f/ fish.
When I began playing it with him he would say a lot of wrong things. A is for /a/,/a/,/a/ cat. I would respond with a fun playful voice, “No, that is /c/,/c/,c/, cat. It is important to remember this is a game and he is learning through it. But pretty quickly he began to recognize those beginning sounds and became really good at the game. He will even start the game with me. It is something we love to do and it is providing him with beginning reading skills in a fun way. Try it with your kids next week. Try just with a few letters everyday and see your child recognize those initial sounds in words.
Notes: /a/ that symbol means whatever letter is that you should make the sound of whatever letter is in the middle.
This initial sound skill ability is part of a group of abilities called phonemic awareness. Phonemes are the sounds that make up our language. The ability to hear and recognize those sounds are important for later reading.