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The primary school years are a crucial time for learners. It is so important that they exit these years with a strong foundation of learning that will help them throughout the rest of their school career. Especially important is the foundation of early literacy, since it ties together with just about every other area of academics! Students need to be practicing early literacy not only in the classroom, but at home as well. As parents, you can help set your children up for success by supporting your children’s literacy in your own home! To help you out, here are four practical ideas for promoting early literacy at home

Read To Your Child

One of the best -and simplest -ways you can help establish a strong, early foundation of literacy in your child is to read to them. Studies have shown that children who are consistently read to:

●have a larger vocabulary,

●have better reading and cognitive skills, and

●score higher on the National Assessment Program -Literacy and Numeracy tests for reading and numeracy.Furthermore, this data was found to be independent of the child’s family background or home environment. These findings are the direct, causal result of being read to frequently! The studies also found that parents are more likely to read to children when there are more books available in the home. If you don’t have a lot of books, there are many affordable ways to obtain some. Local garage sales and thrift stores often have great deals on used books. And, of course, a library card is free!

Model Reading at Home

One of the best ways to instill good habits in your children is by modeling those habits yourself. When it comes to promoting early literacy, there is no better habit than regular reading! Your children are far more likely to be interested in reading when they see you reading at home.

 

If possible, designate a “family reading time” at home where everyone picks up a book and reads for a certain amount of time. Even just 15 minutes can make an impact! If this doesn’t make sense for your family, at least try to model reading in front of your kids whenever you can. Make a conscious effort to frequently pick up a book, newspaper, or even magazine and spend a few minutes reading it in the presence of your children. When your kids see their parents actively making an effort to read, they will want to read more, too!

Sing Songs and Nursery Rhymes

Rhymes and songs can play a crucial role in children’s literacy development! They help develop an ear for language by helping kids easily recognize the sounds and syllables that make up words. This, in turn, helps them learn to read. Incorporating songs or rhymes into your daily routine is a great way to promote early literacy at home. Here are a few ideas:●When reading/reciting familiar rhymes, leave off the final word and allow children to fill it in. For example, “Hickory Dickory dock. The mouse ran up the ____.” Allow your child to complete the rhyme with the word, “clock.”

●Read books to your children that rhyme.

●Allow your child to listen to children’s music while doing chores.

●Play rhyming games! Use refrigerator magnets to create word families that rhyme, or start with a word and work together to come up with as many rhyming words for it as possible.

Talk to Your Kids

Another super easy way you can help your students develop strong literacy skills is by talking to them. Research shows that children who have more conversations with adults have a larger vocabulary. Don’t be afraid to use big words or talk to them like you would another adult -this is beneficial! Have regular conversations with your child to help with this. You can talk to them about their day (or your day), their friends at school, or their favorite hobbies. Keeping the conversation centered around things that interest them will keep them talking longer and more often.

Other Ideas for Promoting Early Literacy At Home

In addition to the above ideas, here are a few more simple things you can do at home to help your students build a strong foundation of literacy!
●Turn on closed captioning when watching TV, movies, or YouTube videos to encourage reading.
●Keep books easily accessible -keep some in all the main rooms around the house, and find a way to display them so that they are easily seen.
 
●Allow children to read different types of books that interest them. Picture books, audiobooks, graphic novels, and comics are all beneficial forms of reading!
●Play word games with your child. This can be games like Bananagrams if age appropriate. You can also play word games in the car like the alphabet game -looking for each letter or a word that starts with each letter on signs and billboards as you drive.
●Encourage storytelling. Model this by telling your children stories of things that happened throughout your day. Then ask them questions about things that happened at school or an event to help them learn to tell stories, too.You can also encourage them to make up their own stories!
●Set up a reading-sensory bin for your children to explore while practicing important pre-reading skills.

Helping your child develop a strong literacy foundation at home doesn’t have to be hard. The ideas above can all be built in to your already established routines. It does not require a lot of time or resources to help your children be successful!

Parents, what are your favorite activities for promoting early literacyat home?

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