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The importance of Early Literacy

What is Early Literacy and why is it important?

Children who develop good conversation and early literacy skills in nursery school 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:
These include:

  • 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.

What you can do at home

Things you can try at home include the following:

  1. Name different people, objects and events in your child’s everyday routine.
  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. Read lots of books and draw your child’s attention to words and pictures.
  6. Sing lots of songs and nursery rhymes.
  7. Play rhyming games.
  8. Assist your child in learning to write their own name.
  9. Sound out the different letters of the alphabet.
  10. Point out different types of print to your child in everyday settings (on the cereal box, in books, on birthday cards).

Having a solid foundation in early literacy skills is critical to children’s future reading performance. … Early literacy development begins in the first three years of a child’s life and supports their future language development, reading, writing, and overall learning. If a child can’t read, they can’t learn. So this is why it’s important to start at an early age.

Why is early literacy important in early years?

Developing early literacy skills makes it easier for children to learn to read. Children who enter school with these skills have an advantage that carries with them throughout their school years. … Reading is an essential skill for success in school and later in life.

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