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How to encourage your child’s literacy

Here are some easy ways you can boost your child’s literacy skills, whether they’re learning how to read, write, or communicate.

Literacy is not just the ability to read. Instead, it’s the process of producing meaning using the things humans use to communicate, whether visual, written, spoken, sung, or drawn. Children learn literacy in different settings, including their homes, communities, and traditional schools.

How to raise a child that talks, reads, writes, watches, and listens

Parents may do various practical things to promote overall literacy and learning in their children’s early childhood years.

Read aloud to your child from a young age

Reading to your child, even when they’re not fully able to comprehend words, is essential. Encourage your child to look, point, touch, and answer questions. This will help to improve their language skills and encourage them to copy sounds, recognise pictures, and learn new words.

Tell stories

Whenever possible, tell your child stories, and ask them to tell you stories. For example, at mealtime, you can ask your toddler, “Tell us what your teddy did today”. Oral storytelling bridges the gap between written and oral narratives.

Discuss their personal experiences

Prompt your child to describe something they have done, seen, read, or heard about. According to research, children’s spoken language development aids their literacy development and vice versa.

Books, books, and more books

Begin with durable board books with faces, animals, and daily objects with few words that encourage interaction (e.g., “Where is baby?”). Gradually progress on to more complicated picture books with rhyming language. Discuss personal connections to the stories and raise questions (such as “I wonder what will happen next or where they went”) to aid comprehension. 

Discuss the words that children notice

Make sure that the words are understandable to your child. Discuss the appearance of words and the patterns, letters, and sounds they produce. This improves children’s word recognition and their grasp of what words imply in context.

Involve your child in literacy-related activities

For example, if you prepare grocery lists or send e-cards, your children could assist you in creating them. Explain what you’re doing and allow children to join in (for example, “I’m looking at a map to figure out how to get to your friend’s house”). Children can meaningfully engage with and create texts and see the importance of these texts in their lives.

Make use of public and state libraries

The majority of libraries provide participatory family literacy programmes and have a variety of materials for families.

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