Early Literacy Skills

So please, oh PLEASE, we beg, we pray, go throw your TV set away, and in its place you can install, a lovely bookshelf on the wall.”
— Roald Dahl, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

What is early literacy?

From the moment a child is born, language and literacy begin providing an essential foundation for that child’s success in school. We all know that literacy, the skills required to read, write, and process information, strengthens our communication skills allowing us to interact with the world around us. Early literacy is exposing young children to reading and writing before they are able to do it on their own. Reading, talking, playing and singing are ways to help encourage literacy growth in your child.

What are some early literacy skills that will be helpful in kindergarten?

Phonemic Awareness- Picking up on sounds, syllables, and rhymes in the words through exposure and repetition

Awareness of Print- Understanding that written language has a direct relationship with spoken language

Vocabulary – Knowing the names of things is important when learning to read, most children enter school with a 3,000-5,000 word vocabulary

Narrative Skills- Comprehending and telling a story as well as describing things

Why is early literacy important for children?

Because 90% brain development occurs by the age of 5, parents and caregivers will want to help their child make connections daily and build the brain’s learning capacity. It is like working out…use it or lose it! We want to stimulate our children’s brains early so that it will be easier for them to learn to read. Reading is an absolutely essential skill for success in school. Children who enter school with strong literacy skills have an advantage that carries with them throughout their school years and the rest of their lives. We all want children to enter school with a love of books and be ready to learn.

Kids Reading
Parents and Children reading

How can parents and caregivers support early literacy?

The easiest way of developing literacy skills in your child is read to him or her, and it’s never too early to start! Borrow books from the local library, purchase books and start a collection, find deals at Goodwill , Chesterfield County Public Library sales, and even stores like 2nd and Charles. Listen to stories on apps such as Kindle or Audible. There are so many options! Research has proven that children who grow up with a home library and books will have greater success in school and in adulthood.

No matter where you get your books or what book you choose to read to your child, here are some ideas about how to get the most out of a picture book:

  • Choose stories together! Select books that both you and your child will enjoy!

  • Have Fun! Read with expression. Make sound effects, do different voices for characters—whatever makes it fun for you and your child!

  • Make it interactive! Are there words or phrases that get repeated? Have your child join in.

  • Talk about it! Talk about the pictures and discuss the story. Make predictions about what will happen in the story.

Spend time with your child reading and rereading books! Play, sing and talk together as often as you can! During the formative years of 0-5 years old, children develop fast and your involvement in early literacy is crucial for a child’s success in school and quality of life!

Everyday Learning Opportunities for Literacy!

Do you want more ideas for quick and easy early literacy activities to do at home with your upcoming kindergartner? Watch these 2-3 minute videos created by our CCPS staff and early childhood community supporters.

Websites to Support Early Literacy Acquisition

The American Association for Pediatrics suggests limiting screen use to 1 hour per day of high-quality programs for children age 2 to 5 years. Look for sites and apps that provide for opportunities to create, connect, and critically think! Below you will find some sites that provide high-quality age appropriate literacy learning opportunities for your preschool child. Try them out together!

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