Young children read and write in many different ways. They begin by recognizing familiar drawings and symbols in their environment. For example, they know the meaning of a Stop Sign, Exit Sign, traffic signal, a store sign etc…. They start by pretend reading a favorite book by describing the pictures or reciting parts of a story from memory. By displaying these behaviors children show us that they understand the idea of print and that it is used to communicate. In the HighScope classroom we support emergent reading by implementing the following key experiences in language and literacy.
HighScope Preschool Key Experiences in Language and Literacy
Speaking and Listening
1. Talking with others about personally meaningful experiences
2. Describing objects, events, and relations
3. Having fun with language : listening to stories and poems, making up stories and rhymes
Reading and Writing
1. Reading in various ways: reading storybooks, signs and symbols, one’s own writing
2. Writing in various ways: drawing, scribbling, letter-like forms, writing words based on word sounds, conventional forms
3. Dictating stories
As children progress on the developmental continuum we next notice that they grasp the idea of letters. Preschoolers learn that letters stand for sounds and that letters make up words. This understanding develops when children have many experiences that link spoken and written language, such as being read to and having their thoughts written down by an adult.
We also notice that young children write in many different ways. As fine motor skills develop young children start to draw and write with crayons, markers, paints and various other writing materials. They first make scribbles and then draw pictures. Later they make scribbles that look like letters. Eventually children write real letters, often beginning with the letters in their first name. As children learn more letters and their sounds, they try to spell or sound out words. They write words based on the sounds they can hear in the words, usually first and last letter sound first and eventually they learn conventional spelling.
So how can parents and guardians of young children lay the foundation for a solid and enjoyable educational beginning? Well most importantly you do not want to drill them or make them recite memorized lists. Learning to read and write should always be pleasurable, not tedious!
Literacy comes from a wide variety of language experiences such as speaking, listening, reading, and writing. By exploring the sounds of language in many different ways you will help your child make the connection between speech and print. Early reading and writing experiences will be meaningful and lasting if they build on children’s natural desire to communicate with the people close to them and to learn about the world around them. Young children need lots of experiences using language in their play and daily routines, and they need repeated exposure to the written word. However they do not need formal lessons but rather informal everyday interactions and activities that promote literacy
12 Things Parents Can Do to Help Their Preschooler Become a Reader
1. Have daily conversations with your child
2. Keep lots of printed materials and writing materials in your home
3. Set up a reading and writing space for your child
4. Let your child see you read and write
5. Read with your child everyday.
6. Call your child’s attention to reading nd writing in everyday activities.
7. Make a message board.
8. Encourage your child to “read”.
9. Display your child’s writing
10. Make a word bank or file of words your child likes to write (word wall).
11. Go to the library with your child
12. Use television and technology wisely