In today’s dynamic world, we all know about the importance of early literacy. Parents mostly start conversing with their children right from birth. And, it is also advisable by the doctors. It helps to build a bond between the parent and child and exposes the child to the world of language. The more the child listens and eventually reads from an early age, the more their learning and development process accelerates. According to a study, young children whose parents read them five books a day enter kindergarten having heard about 1.4 million more words than kids who were never read to.
Whenever we think of learning and reading, the idea of books comes to our mind. However, there are many more ways to boost early literacy in your child. Let us understand what early literacy skills mean.
1. Knowing the names of simple things and identifying them
2. Being interested in reading books
3. Noticing letters and words in a book
4. Being able to describe things and events in a few words or sentences
5. Knowing that letters have names and sound different from each other
6. Understanding and playing with the smaller words, like a cat, bat, sat, etc.
Why is early literacy important for children?
- It is the foundation block of any learning
- It helps them to express and interpret early in life
- It helps to boost confidence and build self-esteem
- It builds their analytical and comprehension skills
- It imbibes reading skills which are like a lifelong asset for them
As mentioned earlier, we tend to feel that reading books is the only way to nurture early literacy skills in a child. However, we can explore many other ways to engage in various fun and learning activities for early literacy.
5 ways to boost early literacy skills in your child without using books:
TALK: This is something that works the best. Start talking to your child right from birth. This helps to build their vocabulary from an early age. You can start with simple things like saying hi, Bye, Good morning, Good night, and others. Show them how to use these words. Gradually, start asking them simple open-ended questions and urge them to answer on their own. Whenever you are out, show them big things that they can relate to. Repeat the same words for some time so that they can learn that easily.
PLAY: Active and constructive playtime plays a critical role in early growth and learning. Involve yourself in whatever the child is playing. Create innovative playtime activities. Storytelling is a powerful tool that involves play and learning. Use puppets or their familiar toys to create amazing storytelling sessions. You can also play with age-specific Lego sets or any other building blocks to improve motor skills.
SING: Rhythm and music are a great way to catch a child's attention and keep them engaged in a fun and playful manner. Sing nursery rhymes together. You can also enact while singing or change voices to make it sound more realistic. Your child will not only sing with you but also start thinking and analyzing sounds on their own.
WRITE: Many of us think writing comes later, and the child can start a little late. But, writing starts much earlier in different ways. Writing doesn't need to be with a pen or a pencil. It can be in the form of finger paints or simply scribbling. For example, let them scribble on a piece of paper, draw or make anything they like. Show them how to draw simple things like a cat or dog from simple shapes.
DO: Spend time doing chores and errands together. Ask them where we should go shopping or getting milk. While you are shopping for groceries, show them different things and tell them what it is. Let them touch things and feel them. This way, they can learn and identify things as well. Most importantly, lessen screen time and stay involved with them in different activities during their formative years.