Some researchers have found that when picture books are traditionally shared with young children, links do not automatically form between the words on the page and the illustrations (Philips et al, 2008). Here are a few ideas to use when reading to children to build early literacy development.
1. Point to the words as you read to them in order to help develop print awareness (words are separated by spaces, we read from left to right and top to bottom, etc.).
2. Ask questions to connect new vocabulary and to help with sequencing and comprehension.
3. Point out those sight words that are repeated over and over again (I, and, the, etc.). Help children sound out words as appropriate, based on their age.
4. Use the pictures/illustrations to help tell the story.
5. Assist and encourage children to identify letters and/or words on the pages as you read along.
We know that the home-literacy environment plays a more important role than socio-economic status when it comes to academic success (Dickinson and McCabe, 2001, p. 196). The goal of the writing process at all levels is to help children find their own voices and to nurture their writing development with scaffold support until they feel confident taking independent responsibility (VanNess, Murnen, & Bertelsen, 2013). Enjoy this journey with your children.
Children will go through stages as they learn to write:
- Random Scribbling (ages 15 months-2.5 years): The child makes random contact with paper and exhibits little muscular control. The strokes made are usually the result of large muscle movements with a fist grip.
- Controlled Scribbling (2-3 years old): Pretend writing is produced as children scribble across paper in a linear fashion. Patterns may be repeated and increased muscular control is observed. Over time they transition from a fist grip to holding the utensil between their thumb and pointed finger.
- Lines and Patterns (2 1/2- 3 1/2 years old): Children understand that writing is made up of lines, curves and patterns. To the children, their writing now has meaning!
- Pictures of Objects or People (3-5 years old): Children naming their creations, children planning prior to drawing with more detail and more control in their fine motor actions.
- Letter and Word Practice (3-5 years old): The beginning of using letters in their writing. This starts with the letters in their names and also with pretend letters (that often resemble shapes, letters). They are experimenting with (and understanding) that letters and print have meaning.
- make art a regular part of your routine
- allow your child to experiment and explore (no instructions needed)
- notice the process....not just the end product
- experiment with art materials as your child nears age 3
- encourage your child's attempts to write (make shopping lists or notes for Grandma or Mom and Dad)
- display your child's work (this is how he/she feels it is valued