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Preschoolers have the potential to understand things and express themselves well. You can help your child develop her initial literacy by cajoling her into reading books and writing. Learn how!
Most parents think that literacy development in kids happen only once they join school. Well, to be honest, they couldn’t be more wrong. Literacy in a child develops way before she joins the school. In fact, even before a child learns to read or write, she learns sounds, words, language, pictures, etc., and all this learning happens at home. Hence, it can be said that parents play a major role in developing literacy in kids.
Let’s see how parents can help develop literacy in your preschooler.
Make a habit of reading books to your child every day. It helps in building your preschooler’s vocabulary. It also helps to develop your child’s interest in books and reading. Here are a few tips to keep in mind while reading books to your preschooler:
- Buy books with clear images (they fascinate your child) and small story lines.
- The font size should be bigger, bolder and clearer for your child to understand and learn words.
- Point out easy and small words from the book to your child. Seeing the word frequently will make her recognize it easily.
- Create phonological awareness which will help her in understanding the sounds of the alphabets that make up words.
- Read books with a variety of characters. They love complexity.
Teach the Correct Language
A preschooler who is experimenting with new words and language may make mistakes in pronunciation or grammar. Do not correct her or else she will hesitate and be conscious while speaking. Instead, repeat her sentence in the correct way. This will teach her the correct language without making her feel embarrassed. Similarly, kids learn a lot from conversations and listening. Make sure you speak the correct language before her.
Encourage Drawing and Scribbling
The silly doodles that your preschooler makes might be more valuable than you think. So don’t stop her. It not only teaches her to hold the pencil/pen correctly but also encourages her to write. Show her how to write. Then ask her to watch you and copy. Label things in bold letters around the house to teach her words. You may label her books, objects, bedroom door etc. Provide your child with crayons, pencils, markers or anything which might interest her to write. You might have to hold her hand initially. Also, she may be scribbling more than actually forming letters initially. But that’s nothing to worry; it actually encourages her to write.
Make Up Stories
Narrating stories is an interesting way to develop literacy in your preschooler. Make up stories for your child. Just make sure that you repeat the same story using different vocabulary for the same word/context. This way your child will learn more vocabulary. Ask her questions about the story. For example, while narrating a jungle story, ask her what sort of animals she would like to have in her courtyard or which animal she doesn’t like and why. Encourage your child to make up stories. You will be surprised by her vivid imagination. Alternatively, you may also indulge in some role plays (milk man, shop keeper, her favourite animated character) with your preschooler. It helps build vocabulary and speech.
Encourage and Enjoy Rhymes
Rhymes help your child understand the difference between various sounds that words make. They also build vocabulary. Make up rhymes on daily activities (bathing, brushing teeth, eating etc.), things around her, etc. You can encourage her to rhyme words for you, for example, give her a word ‘bat’ and ask her to rhyme it.
Teach through Everyday Experiences
Make everyday experiences a learning platform for your preschooler. As you go to the supermarket, shopping mall, park or hair salon, start conversations with your child around the subject. Also, ask your child to observe things around her and narrate them to you. You may also ask her questions about her daily activities like what she did at the school or in the activity centre.
Activities and games like dumb charades, magnetic letters, Bingo, picture cards are a good way of teaching your child vocabulary.
Remember, you are not required to invest a lot of money, the only investment that is required for developing literacy in your preschooler is time and involvement.