Developing literacy in early childhood plays a critical role in learning development. Literacy skills essentially set the stage for future education goals parents and educators will implement, as well as helping children grow academically. But why is literacy in early childhood development so important?
The method of simply reading to children early on is the beginning of the vital literacy process. This is the door opener to further education, whether at home or in the classroom. For instance, reading to a child for 20 minutes at home or in class can be one of the most critical literacy preparation aspects.
However, reading to a child is only the tip of the iceberg. There are a number of other strategies and learning technology tools parents and teachers can utilize to enhance the literacy learning experience for children.
Let’s take a deeper look at why early childhood literacy learning is critical, and a few tips you can employ as a teacher and/or parent.
Why Early Literacy is Important for Children
Beginning to stack those literacy building blocks in early childhood has several benefits for children. From education skills to emotional and social skills, implementing reading into the daily routine has profound development effects.
“Reading with a child every day nurtures vocabulary, language, and early literacy skills,” according to The Children’s Reading Foundation. “It also builds the child's confidence to work through challenges and persistence in difficult tasks, and develops social and emotional skills, which are just as essential to school success.”
Other benefits and considerations behind early literacy include:
●One in three kids begins kindergarten without the necessary reading skills.
●Children who have read in their lives early have been found to do far better in school later on compared to children who are not exposed to reading.
●Using reading, verbal communication, singing, and rhyme games have better literacy development down the road.
●Building literacy skills in early childhood allow children to learn and develop better reading skills easier later on.
How can educators and parents overcome the above statistics and leverage those literacy benefits? Reading development. If you are a teacher or parent already reading to your little ones, here are a few literacy-building tips you can easily employ for next level literacy.
3 Ways to Enhance Literacy in Early Childhood Learning
1. Building Orientation Using Fingers
Reading to children is definitely a powerful literacy tool, but to enhance the experience teachers and parents can use fingers to build those literacy skills even more. For example, run your finger under words while reading, or hold the child’s finger and run it under words.
This can help children develop multiple aspects, like the orientation of left to the right, concept, and spacing of text while reading, as well as future writing skills. After doing this for some time, the child will model this and begin doing on his or her own.
2. Aim for Oral Fluency Via Vocabulary
Your student or child already has a wide vocabulary even before reading begins. However, building upon that vocabulary list and aiming for oral fluency is a powerful literacy tool. In fact, it is one of the master keys to higher levels of literacy in the future.
Building vocabulary in early childhood also gives children the foundation to grow vocabulary easier when in the classroom down the road. For instance, when a child begins kindergarten with a strong vocabulary list and the oral fluency background can enhance their vocab by up to eight words per day.
3. Focus on Voice Inflections When Reading
Reading is only half the battle when it comes to literacy in early childhood development. There are certainly a lot of aspects in ready and speaking, but one that can pay off later in the education journey of a child is voice inflections.
To build the foundation for literacy during those early years, parents and teachers should read using voice inflections. This can help children learn oral fluency, as well as keeps him or her engaged in the reading process. For example, using inflections for emotion, as well as changing characters in a story.
Is Literacy in Early Childhood Learning a Priority for Your Children?
The above highlights the critical role literacy plays in early childhood development. It not only paves the way for better social and emotional development, but it also allows children to grow literacy skills easier in the future. This can have a profound effect on their academic life as they move from kindergarten to elementary school. How are you building key literacy skills in your child’s life?