Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Tuesday Teachings - Encouraging Early Literacy

There are many ways to encourage early literacy skills for your child during her normal play time. You do not have to sit down with your child and force her to complete a worksheet for you.

During the day there are numerous times to "fit in" literacy. If your children are playing and she says "Let's play restaurant. I'll be the waitress." This is a great opportunity! Suggest that she write the "order" down on a notebook and hand her the notebook and a pencil. This is a huge learning activity for her. She has to stay in character, write down what you ordered to eat, go get the food, recall what she wrote down and then return to you with the food. When she returns to you, tell her that she needs to tell you what everything is as she sets it on the table.

Do you have picture books in your house? We sit down a few times a week with a picture book and my son will look at the pictures and then make up a story to go along. Sometimes the stories are closely related, other times he can look at the same book 3 days in a row and the story will be different each day. In addition to understanding that the pictures have meanings, he is also recalling his friends and past activities as they often make appearances in his stories. These stories are a building block to strong literacy skills.

Does your child love to paint or color with crayons? They are learning the tripod grip that is vital for writing skills, but they are doing much more than that. As they are painting, they have an image in their head that they are trying to re-create. Once a masterpiece is complete, ask your child to tell you all about it. I will frequently write down these stories that my son tells me so that we have a memento of the moment.

Doing worksheets and memorizing letters are an important part of every one's education, but it does not have to be the only part. There are many ways to learn and as parents and teachers, we need to offer a variety of ways for our children.

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