Infant Literacy Skills – Newborn To Three Years

Children need to develop literacy skills before their first day of school and research consistently shows children learn literacy skills even before talking.

Emergent literacy theorists believe that children start learning about literacy (reading and writing) from birth. Infants can learn about the letters of the alphabet and concepts of print long before they are able to read.

Think about your child for a minute. If you hand them a book, do they hold it right side up? Can they point to the title? Turn the pages in the right order? Although they can’t read, they learn that print on pages has meaning.

If you take time to introduce young kids to letters and pictures, the benefits last. Early learning is the responsibility of parents and not a school-teacher.

While bringing literacy benefits. early learning helps a child’s concentration, communication skills, speech, language and general attention span.

Just a few points to remember:

  1. Always pick a time that suits you. Don’t try reading while dinner is on, or you’re heading out the door to work
  2. Take time to be with your child. Do not rush through a book, give the child time to look at pictures and tun the pages
  3. Make reading fun. You don’t want kids to get bored of learning at such a young age. Put some drama into the reading & use hand movements

A few items to help you along the way:

  1. Try to get picture cards for your child. They can play with these when you’re not around and it familiarises them with new pictures and colors
  2. Never underestimate fridge magnets. It is easy to find alphabet or number-shaped magnets and children have a lot of fun moving these about on a fridge door while learning the shapes of different letters
  3. When choosing books it can be difficult to know what to pick. Books with lots of repetition are good. They may seem boring to you but children learn best when they repeatedly see the words and pictures

The bottom line is, the more stories you share with your child, the more words they will learn – and the better prepared for school they will be.

(compiled by Miriam Walsh)

Further Reading

Deaf Children – Early Language Teaching At Home

Communication Development – Linking Items To Words

Early Reading Skills For Lifelong Literacy

Introducing Babies & Toddlers To Books And Reading

Visual Learning In The Preschool & Primary Years (pdf file)

Including Deaf Children At Preschool – Part One (plus links)

IBM’s KidSmart PC Supports Language Learning (plus brochure)

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