Emergent Literacy: How To Prepare Your Child For Reading and Writing
How do we make sure to best support the early literacy, and exactly what is emergent literacy...?
When we think about investing in these early years of our child’s life, providing them with enriching environments, one of the many things that concern us is teaching them the foundational skills of reading and writing. These skills are often referred to by the term ‘literacy’.
Now, we know that the early years are of significant importance, rapid development happens in children and we need to encourage early literacy during that time.
But why does this task become so tiresome and painful for our tiny preschoolers?
Firstly, we are not sure of how to promote literacy in a developmentally appropriate manner, which means that our teaching is not in accordance with the way children learn at such a young age.
Secondly, we do not take advantage of the concept of Emergent Literacy and use it positively for our benefit. This concept was first introduced by a New Zealand Researcher, Mary Clay in 1966, describing various behaviours children demonstrate while interacting with print even before formal schooling starts. For most children in our literate society, learning to read and write begins very early in life. Even during the first few months of life, children come in contact with written language as their parents place soft alphabet blocks in their environment or read books to them.
These early contacts with print are the beginning of the lifelong learning process of reading and writing. By the age of two or three, children are able to recognize signs and symbols in surroundings and also start scribbling.
Language and literacy activity for preschoolers:Let’s understand how we can employ the basic principles of emergent literacy along with our Cognitive Head Start 101 Value Bundle to provide maximum learning and fun to our children while covering the essential stages of literacy development.
- Literacy learning happens in real-life situations
- Reading and writing develop concurrently and interrelatedly in young children.
- Children learn through active engagement, constructing their understanding of how written language works.
Reading together, discussions, asking questions, drawing connections with real life; all these foster engagement. Parents can follow up reading and video sessions with worksheets, all of which provide multiple stimuli to engage with. Activities like Spot the Difference are brilliant at evoking children’s curiosity which is extremely valuable for early literacy learning. Parents can also create interesting opportunities such as making a dinosaur museum together, playing restaurant game, etc. for more interaction around print and deeper learning. All this paves way for independent reading and writing in the future.
So, we hope that this overview on the concept of emergent literacy helps you understand children’s learning better. We wish you all the best in your worthwhile endeavor to teach foundational skills of literacy to our children.
If you're still looking to add some preschool literacy activity to your daily routine, and haven't yet checked out our printable early learning system Cognitive Head Start 101, then click here and do it now :)