The importance of early literacy skills in learning to read

Children Speakin

Children who develop good conversation and early literacy skills in kindergarten are at an advantage learning to read and write when they begin primary school.

Early literacy includes the skills your child learns before they learn to read and write such as:

  • Vocabulary – having a good understanding of different words and being able to use a range of different words in conversation.
  • Letter knowledge – being able to recognise the different letters in the alphabet.
  • Phonological awareness (sound awareness) – having an awareness that different letters of the alphabet make different sounds and that words can be broken down into smaller chunks. For example, ‘dog’ can be broken down into three sounds, d-o-g.
  • Print knowledge (or text awareness) – is a child’s understanding that print/text has a specific purpose and that words carry meaning. The purpose of text in a book is to tell us a story or the print written on a menu at a restaurant provides us with information about what we can eat or drink. This knowledge of print awareness may include an understanding that we read from left to right, words are made up of different letters and each word has a space between it.
  • Narrative skills (or storytelling) – includes a child being able to describe events, retell stories and tell events in order.

You can try many simple, fun ways to build your preschool child’s early literacy skills during everyday routines and activities.

Things you can try at home include the following:

  1. Point out different types of print to your child in everyday settings (on the cereal box, in books, on birthday cards).
  2. Try to encourage your child to tell you about their day or tell you a story.
  3. Teach your child the alphabet through song.
  4. When you go to the supermarket, point out different food items and colours to teach your child new words.
  5. Name different objects, people and events in your child’s everyday routine.
  6. Read lots of books and draw your child’s attention to words and pictures.
  7. Sing lots of songs and nursery rhymes.
  8. Assist your child in learning to write their own name.
  9. Sound out the different letters of the alphabet.
  10. Play rhyming games.

All children develop their language skills at a different pace, however if you feel that you child is experiencing difficulty with their ability to communicate verbally to you or other children their age and you require some assistance, please contact Kids At Max on (03) 9702 4447.

Written by Kids At Max – Speech Pathologist

© 2017 Kids At Max