Strong literacy skills are essential for academic success at school. As a parent, you play an important role in promoting the skills your child needs before they get to school.
Important building blocks for literacy development
Research by Hanen shows that there are five important skills children need to develop strong literacy skills:
Conversation – the better a child is able to understand and use language, the more they will be able to understand the words they read, and make links between what they are reading and their own personal experiences.
click tip: Having conversations is a great way to develop your child’s oral language skills. Children learn new words by hearing them used meaningfully in everyday conversations with you.
Vocabulary – the more words a child knows, the better their reading comprehension will be.
click tip: Build your child’s vocabulary by using new words and explaining what they mean.
Story Comprehension – children must be able to understand stories they hear, before they are able to understand the stories they read. This means understanding what is happening, as well as ‘reading between the lines’ or making inferences about what is unsaid.
click tip: When reading stories, pause before turning the page, and ask your child to think about what might happen next.
Print Awareness – understanding that the squiggly lines on the page (letters!) have meaning and relate to the words that are spoken, that words consist of letters and the writing is read from left to right.
click tip: Read the words on the page, and point to the words as you read them. (We’ve all done it… skipping ahead to get our little ones into bed earlier!)
Sound Awareness – understanding that words can be broken down into syllables and individual sounds. This then leads to understanding that sounds are represented by letters for spelling.
click tip: Books with rhyming and repetitive sounds are great to help develop this – any books by Dr. Suess are perfect!
What are your favourite books to share with your children?