The five early literacy practices get your child ready to read, are easy, fun, and can be done right in our Preschool Pavilion!
Read: This one is kind of a no-brainer, since you’re surrounded by books! Check out the Picture Book Notebook for booklists by subject matter. Choose a book, and explore it with your child. Ask your child to look at the cover and tell you what she thinks it will be about. Use voices for different characters. Try reading the book just by talking about the pictures. Have fun! Now go and get another…and another…and another. Research shows that when you read with your child, she learns that reading is an enjoyable activity and will try harder to learn to read, even if it’s difficult for her.
Write: To a preschooler, writing means a lot of things. It can mean strengthening small muscles in the hand by doing fingerplays. On our Early Literacy Train, we’ve got the words to “The Wheels on the Bus,” so go right ahead and act that out together. Playing with puzzles also develops the muscles that will later hold a pen, so take advantage of our puzzle collection (both in the play area and larger puzzles behind the Youth desk – just ask). Writing also means scribbling, and occasionally we’ll put out displays that encourage writing, so watch for those and let your little ones make their marks.
Play: This whole space was designed for play. Play is how children learn, and as you play alongside your child, you are helping him learn. Puppets and trains and dinosaurs! Dolls and blocks and puzzles! But it doesn’t do to just watch your child play – join in the fun! Be a character (be three characters!). Use voices (use silly voices…we won’t tell!). Create stories. Take a peek at our Early Literacy Kits; they’ve got great tips for playing together. Let your child lead the play, but play with your child.
Check out the first video in our new Building Literacy video series, where you will learn 3 different ways you can use our Early Literacy Kits to play together with your child.
Sing: We love hearing renditions of songs coming from the Preschool Pavilion. Whether it’s “Happy Birthday” for one of our baby dolls or “Down at the Station” near our train table, songs make people smile. Singing also helps your child learn to read! “How?” you ask. Songs typically break words into syllables with one note per syllable. When a child is trying to sound out a word, she will also break it into syllables. Having practiced that skill already with singing makes it easier for children when learning to read.
Talk: Carrying on a conversation with your child is one of the easiest ways to get him ready to read. When we speak with our children, we can introduce them to new vocabulary words, which, in turn, will help them recognize those words in print. Look out the beautiful windows of our play area and talk about what you see. Is there a firetruck? How about a traffic jam? Talk about books. Talk about the weather. Talk while you’re playing together.