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Helpful Literacy Tips 

According to the joint position statement of the International Reading Association (IRA) and the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), most children learn to read at around age six or seven, some children learn to read at age five, and a few at age four. In order for children to develop healthy dispositions toward reading and literacy, experiences in the early years must engage children actively in the process of learning.

 Early Literacy is what children know about reading and writing before they actually read and write. Research shows that children arriving at kindergarten with the following early literacy skills are more likely to be successful in learning to read and write.


  • Vocabulary Development -- Knowing the names of things
  • Narrative Skills -- Being able to describe things, events, and tell stories
  • Letter Knowledge -- Understanding that each letter is unique and has a name and sound
  • Print Awareness -- Experience with different forms of print; knowledge of how to handle books and how to follow words across a page
  • Print Motivation -- Interest in and enjoyment from books
  • Phonological Awareness -- Ability to hear and play with the small sounds that make up words


So how do I do this at home?!

Tips for parents to support phonemic awareness:

  Phonemic awareness refers to an insight about oral language and the ability to segment and manipulate the sounds of speech and is one of the essential components of reading.  (Vacca & Vacca, 2006)

-Sing alphabet songs with your child.

-Read stories that your child chooses.

-Help your child clap the beats or syllables in words.

-Point out letters, especially letters in your child's name.

-Play with language and rhymes.

-Sing songs that manipulate phonemes.


To support phonics, parents can:

-Encourage your child to point to words and say them loud when writing.

-Listen to your child read.

-Help children sort words by long- and short- vowel sounds.

-Help your child define larger words by breaking them into smaller chunks.

-Play spelling and word games like Scrabble and Hang Man.


 Tips for parents to support print concepts at home:

    Print concepts are a set of understandings about the conventions of literacy, such as directionality, use of blank spaces and letter, and multiple genres. To support print concepts, parents can:

-Point out the title and author's name to your child when reading together.

-Talk about where reading begins on the page and show how the words flow left to right.

-Play games to match lowercase and uppercase letters.

-Talk about how types of texts have similarities and differences.

-Expose you child to many types of print. (Newspaper, journal, book, signs, etc.)

-Make a book with your child using large print and illustrations.


To support comprehension, parents can:

-Ask your child to predict what might happen next in a story.

-Ask who, what, where, when, and why questions about a book.

-Ask questions about the topic of a book before reading it.

-Ask about books being read at school.

-Ask what the main idea or message of a book might be.


Tips for parents to support vocabulary at home:

-Read aloud a variety of genres.

-Talk with your child about daily events and about books you read together.

-Talk about how the illustrations and text in a book support each other.

-Use words from our word lists I send home in natural conversation.          

-Search for new words in texts and look them up in the dictionary.

-Help your child learn new vocabulary based on hobbies or interests.


To support fluency, parents can:

-Read aloud often, encouraging your child to read aloud

-Let your child choose books to read.

-Reread favorite books.

-Model reading for fun and pleasure.

-Act out a book or story.

-Read aloud a sentence and then invite your child to read the same sentence (echo reading).

-Help your child read new words and talk about the meaning.

-Talk with your child when they go to the library about how to pick out books of interest at an appropriate reading level.


To support writing, parents can:

-Provide multiple writing materials and tools.

-Encourage your child to write his or her name and the name of family members.

-Let your child see you writing for various purposes.

-Ask your child to say words out loud as she or he writes.

-Respond to the ideas your child has written.

-Encourage your child to write the way he or she talks, and then ask them to read the writing aloud.

-Plan a time and place for your child to write every day.