Why supporting early literacy development is as easy as ABC

Literacy is best learned through typical situations that are engaging, meaningful and fun. These opportunities to support your child’s early literacy development the possibilities are everywhere.

Here are a few things we do at SDN Pyrmont that you might try at home.

Literacy development starts with reading aloud to children. We share picture and story books with them, show them that we also love reading and learning.

Food is another great learning opportunity. Our cook likes to share the recipe with children and involve them in the process. At the same time we run our fingers over the text and talk about what it’s communicating. At home you could do the same when you’re compiling a shopping list. Sit down with them, discuss what you need to buy, and then write it down. Then when you’re shopping, refer to the list and tick items off as you go. Have those constant conversations. Really draw their attention to the different functions of print and help develop those contextual understandings.

Driving in the car is a great opportunity to talk about the street signs you see. If you’re on a train, draw attention to maps and station signs. Once you get home, read your letters out loud. Get your child to help you write an email or send a birthday card. Even junk mail is an asset. Go through it with them. Talk about what the words are saying in context with the pictures. This process can help them learn to recognise symbols and interpret their meanings.

We find that encouraging children to draw and write is also extremely important. Even if they tell us that they’re writing but we can’t recognise any letters, it’s still meaningful. Every time a small child picks up a pencil and makes marks on paper, they are practising early writing skills and strengthening the hand muscles required to control a pencil.

Everyday engagement with words and letters is crucial. The more you draw attention to the different contexts in which written language plays a part, the more complex your child’s understanding will become.

Rachel D’Ambra, Centre Director, SDN Pyrmont