Tips & tricks for teaching literacy to young children

A good level of literacy will see your child start their first term at kindergarten with confidence, and allow them a head start with the basic foundations of a good education. Babies begin to develop the cognitive skills associated with literacy as soon as they start to acknowledge the sounds and vocal tones made by their first caregivers. Language recognition and development will go on to play a big part in a child’s journey to reading and writing, and children are never too young to start practising these all important skills. As parents, we are our child’s first, and most important, teacher.

It has been said that modern life affords parents with very little time to read with their children daily or spend hours tutoring them on the alphabet. This in many cases may be true, but what we must remember is that children learn constantly, they even learn from experiences that may seem routine or mundane to an adult. Children will learn the most relevant lessons from day to day family life and by adding a little fun we can turn everything, from a trip to the supermarket to walking the dog, into a valuable educational experience.

Here we explore some super simple tricks and tips for bringing fun and learning into everyday activities and boosting the literary development of our little ones.

  • Travelling, queuing, or in a waiting room is a perfect time for a game of I Spy, you can play the traditional ‘something beginning with…’ or use colours, ‘I spy something red/green/blue
  • Sing rhymes, songs and lullabies when out and about or doing chores around the home. Anything involving language, rhyme, repetition and rhythm will help your child learn
  • Use rhyming phrases for fun language development. ‘See you later alligator’ ‘Nighty-night sleep tight’ ‘Snug as a bug in a rug’ you can even make them up as you go!
  • Make and repeat animal sounds, ‘See the cow in the field? Cows say MOOO’ you can even QUACK with the ducks in the park.
  • At mealtimes talk about the colours, tastes and words for each food. Remember the information is going into that sponge of a brain, even if they are having a disinterested day.
  • Talk about all those mundane, everyday objects. Children are not familiar with many of the things we barely acknowledge… birdsong, benches, cracks in the paving stones, signposts….
  • Make up stories – no matter how silly they may be, no matter how repetitive or nonsensical – all creativity is good for the imagination and the developing brain
  • Name-based activities can include making a sign or a mobile for your child’s room, let them create the letters and arrange them, or put their own handwritten name stickers on their toys
  • And lastly do try to fit in story time as often as you can, not only is it good for literacy, but it is a fantastic time to bond. Bed and bath time are perfect for stories and a perfect time for you to relax with your little learner.

At Cherry Bridge Station Early Learning & Childcare centres in NSW, we not only encourage reading and making stories, we have also developed our very own set of characters and storybooks based on our Cherry Bridge Station theme. The centre walls are decorated with our unique illustrations so children can get to know our friendly trains, station staff, and the mischievous children of Cherry Bridge.