Literacy Skills In Children Aged Three to Five Years

This piece follows on from IDK’s earlier post, Infant Literacy Skills: Newborn To Three Years, and complements other IDK posts on early-years literacy. The bottom line is that children learn about literacy from birth, regardless of their hearing ability.

While early introduction to literacy is essential in babies and toddlers, the process needs to be consistent. By pre-school stage, kids should be familiar with the alphabet and numbers. At this stage you can give them pictures and keep a simple picture diary with them, or let them make their own stories.

This will benefit their overall creativity. Also be sure to have an endless supply of paper and crayons. Children enjoy drawing and learning how to hold a crayon will give them the basic skills needed to write at a later stage.

Early-years learning works best when it’s child-centred.  Many fun activities are available at this stage and familiarity with the alphabet, colours and numbers will help in devising new games and building vocabulary.

I-Spy is a great game for pre-schoolers as it helps them to explore the area around them and connect letters with objects. It also challenges them to discover what objects you are talking about when for example you say ‘I spy with my little eye something beginning with C”. Could it be the cat outside? or the car? or a cap?

This will help them develop vocabulary and letter association.

A library trip can be an exciting outing for a young child in giving them a chance to explore books and subtitled DVDs outside of their own collection.

‘Experience’ trips also hold endless opportunities. A trip on the bus is a great chance for you to point out signs along the way. Teach your children the names of shops and how to recognize the names. Take them to the cinema where they will see objects that they are familiar with, in a story.

Take them grocery shopping where they can be introduced to new foods. They will see items from their books in real-life and be encouraged to ask what other items are. They may never have seen a melon before, but you can show them and they will know for the next time.

Taking the time to help your child with early literacy will benefit them when they start school as they will have built up vocabulary while developing communication and attention skills.

(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)

Early learning goals, as defined in the UK

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