Early literacy skills build strong young readers

Reading is one of the most essential skills for lifelong success. At the Tiffin-Seneca Public Library, we want to give you the tools and knowledge to teach your child the early literacy skills that will allow them to become strong young readers. Here are five important ways that you can encourage early literacy every day!

Talking to and with children teaches them new words and what they mean through listening, along with giving them more general knowledge of the world around them. Giving your child a chance to respond is important for developing conversational skills. Try to respond to your child by reiterating what they have said using new words!

Even if you aren’t a great singer, songs are a highly effective way of learning language. Singing slows down language to allow for children to learn the individual sounds that make up words, which helps with learning to read printed language and pronunciation. Clapping along with songs helps children break up words into syllables, so use song and rhyme whenever you can. Singing songs like the alphabet song is a great way to learn multiple things at one time!

The most essential tool for early literacy is shared reading. Try to read something together with your child every day, as this instills a habit of reading. It’s also a great way to spend quality time together and encourage a love of reading. Have your reading time be interactive. Allow the child to touch the book and explore the covers and the pages. Ask questions and try to engage your child with the text. And don’t be afraid to reread the same book multiple times. Even if it might get boring from an adult point of view, repetition is a great way to reinforce vocabulary and word recognition!

Reading and writing are two sides of the same coin. Even if your child seems too young, writing begins with scribbles and lines, so giving them the opportunity to color or draw is a great way to encourage early literacy. Holding writing utensils also builds fine motor skills by developing their hand muscles. Start by trying to teach your child how to write their name to sign their drawings. Even if they don’t understand what it means yet, having an early association with letters helps with the understanding that print represents words.

While it might not seem obvious, playing is also essential in developing early literacy skills. Unstructured creative play is a way for children to express themselves and put their thoughts into words. Playing with other children, like at T-SPL’s Playtime @ the Library, builds important social and communicative skills, as well. Encourage your child to make up stories with puppets or other toys – it’s great for developing storytelling skills and learning to effectively communicate their ideas.

All of these skills can be built upon at home, along with at the library. Tiffin-Seneca Public Library has a variety of resources to help build your child’s early literacy skills, from our 1000 Books Before Kindergarten program, educational toys and games, to our storytimes for babies, toddlers, preschoolers, and the whole family! Stop in to the Junior Library to find out more about early literacy and what the library has to offer!

Ashley Meece is youth services manager for Tiffin-Seneca Public Library.