Create A Print-rich Environment For Early Literacy
Literacy is all around us. You can make your home environment a print-rich play area by thinking outside the box and being creative. First of all, you can expose your child to a variety of print materials. Create multiple areas to store books such as a bookshelf, a bookcase, or a basket. Provide pencils, pens, crayons, colored pencils, markers and other writing materials for your child to write with. Also make sure there are different types of paper and notepads available for your child’s use. Label items for your child. If there is a box of markers, label it with the word “Markers”. Familiarize your child with various kinds of books such as the phone book, an atlas or a brochure from a place you recently traveled. Let her see you engaged in opportunities with literacy.
When she is at play make her follow your lead and engage her in print-rich activities. If she is playing pretend restaurant at the table suggest that you create some menus. Give her choices as you work together. What color should the menus be? What would you like the restaurant to serve? Do we need to earn some money? What about a notepad to write down each customer’s order? As you are walking your child through their questions and helping her create the scene she is increasing her literacy knowledge base. These activities allow her to be imaginative and follow her ideas to make a restaurant. Save the props you have made so you can use them over and over again.
Your child should start recognizing letters of the alphabet and numbers during her fourth year. Usually your child will be familiar with letters in her name first. Other letters will come next. My daughter’s name began with a letter G and I had a few decorative letter G’s in her bedroom. She quickly began to learn and would be able to pick out the letter G when she saw it in another environment. I also wrote her name a lot and would say each letter as I was writing it. She learned the other letters in her name fast just through visually seeing the letters and auditorily hearing them. There was no drill and practice that took place, just natural exposure.
Literacy is not meant to happen only at “reading time”. Literacy happens throughout the day. Children are not meant to sit still. Make reading with your child an interactive experience so she can learn easily. Give her opportunities to talk about the book during the read instead of having to wait until the end. If there is an animal in the story teach her to make the animal sound. Interact with literacy! When she is able to play with language in ways that makes sense to her she is learning. There are more than 100 languages of children. Your little one has a variety of ways to express herself. Will she paint or sculpt, write a story, play or build, make a sign, sing a song, read a story or talk about an experience? What way will your child choose to express herself today?