What Are The Signs Of Early Literacy Challenges?
According to experts, by age 2, a child’s brain is as active as an adult’s and by age 3 the brain is more than twice as active as an adult’s – and stays that way for the first 10 years of life.
We are born with billions of brain cells called neurons. The more stimulation we learn through our senses at an early age, the more pathways develop between the brain cells. Young children must develop early literacy skills in order to be successful with formal reading and writing in school.
Research shows that kids who start behind typically stay behind. Providing young children with opportunities to develop early literacy skills is important to their success in school, in their profession, and in their life ahead.
What is Early Literacy?
Early literacy can be defined as what children know about reading and writing before they actually learn to read and write. It is not teaching reading, drilling, or using flashcards. Instead, it is laying the foundation, so that your child has the necessary skills when they are developmentally ready to read.
So, failing and faltering in different early literacy skills can lead to learning difficulties. These early signs of learning disorders are often picked up in the first two years of school when they start classroom-based learning in reading, writing, and Maths.
Early literacy difficulties may include problems with speaking and listening, knowing letters, pronouncing letter sounds, and sounding out words.
If a school-age child has learning difficulties or a learning disorder, you might notice one or more of these signs:
disliking reading, writing, or Maths and/or finding reading, writing, or Maths hard
having trouble spelling common words, using rhyming words, or counting
finding it difficult to spot the sounds and syllables in words
find it difficult to link a number to the associated word like words and numerical
feeling less confident about schoolwork
What are some of the alarming signs of early literacy difficulties for a 3-4-year-old child?
The child is late to start talking and has difficulty learning and remembering new words
They omit words needed to make a complete sentence – for example, ‘I going to zoo’ rather than ‘I am going to the zoo’
He/She struggles to pronounce particular sounds
They don’t recognize any alphabet letters
The child has difficulty scribbling to make shapes that look like letters
They cannot string similar-sounding words together like cat, mat, bat
They can’t repeat at least parts of nursery rhymes
They can’t speak in phrases or sentences with three or more words
The child is difficult to be understood by strangers.
You might want to seek help or advice is your child:
can’t tell you what action is going on in a picture book – for example, running, barking, eating
can’t seem to tell the difference between the front and back of the book, or can’t tell which way is the right way up
can’t name simple objects in the books
forgets if they have read a book even if you show them the cover or give hints
doesn’t like listening when you read on a regular basis
What are some of the alarming signs of early literacy difficulties for a child who is 5 years or above?
Spoken Language Difficulties
The child might have trouble in:
· understanding simple instructions – for example, ‘Please keep the glass on the table’
· using new words when they speak
· framing longer sentences –sentences of eight or more words
· recognizing and coming up with words that start the same way like ‘car, cat, can’, and sounds that rhyme like ‘rat, mat, sat’
· breaking simple words into their parts (syllables or single sounds) like ‘ba-na-na’, or putting sounds together to make words
· using the correct grammar – for example, saying ‘She broked the glasses’ instead of ‘She broke the glasses’
· understanding the usage of comparison words like ‘heavier’, ‘stronger’, or ‘shorter’.
· telling or retelling stories in the right chronological order
doesn’t show interest in books and reading
mixes up the sequence of events in stories
can’t relate what happens in books to things in their own life
can’t remember words even if the words are repeated throughout the book
gets distracted when books are read aloud and doesn’t get meaning and pleasure from this activity
When it comes to print if your child:
doesn’t know that words in print are different from pictures, and are there to be read
doesn’t know that each letter in the alphabet has a name and a sound
can’t name and say the sounds of at least eight letters
can’t break words apart into sounds
can’t blend sounds together to make words
doesn’t scribble their name, messages and so on – it doesn’t matter whether you can read what your child scribbles.