Did you know that by attending storytime, you’re getting much more than just a fun activity? Storytime is a wonderful way for your child to acquire the six early literacy skills researchers identify as laying important groundwork for learning to read.
The skills are:
Print motivation is the enjoyment of reading and books. Encourage print motivation by keeping reading time fun – have your child participate in the story and read books on subjects of interest to her. If your child isn’t enjoying it, take a break.
Vocabulary is knowing the names of things, concepts, and feelings. Practice vocabulary with your child by naming the things you see during your day, asking him to point out shapes in the books you’re reading together, and spending time just talking and reading with your child. He’ll learn a lot of words just by hearing you speak!
Phonological awareness is being able to hear smaller sounds in bigger words and being able to manipulate those sounds. This will make it easier to sound out words when your child is learning to read. Encourage phonological awareness by playing word games with your child, singing rhyming songs, and reciting nursery rhymes and poems.
Letter knowledge is just what you’d guess – knowing letters! It also includes knowing what sounds the letters make and that letters are different from each other. Learning letters doesn’t have to be a trial. Point out letters in books, on street signs, look for things that have the shape of a certain letter, or make letter shapes out of clay.
Print awareness is knowing how to hold and manipulate a book, knowing that we read from left to right and top to bottom, and knowing that words and print are all around us. Encourage print awareness by pointing out words on signs, reading books where writing is part of the story, or running your finger along the words as you read.
Narrative skills include being able to tell or retell a story, recount events, and give descriptions. Encourage narrative skills by having your child say repeated phrases with you as you read a book or do a motion for certain words or phrases in the story (arms out for “the great big bear”, for example). Also, ask your child questions about the book you’re reading. For example, ask “What kind of animal is this? What is this truck doing? What do you think will happen next?”
Watch our Weekly Literacy Tip box for more ideas on using these skills at home or visit the Weekly Literacy Tip Archive.