It hasn't been an easy year for parents and children alike. All schools were closed for a considerable amount of time. So, perhaps you are wondering how you can support your child's literacy development at home.
First of all, let's take a look at the word 'Literacy' and its meaning. Literacy is the skill to read, write, speak and listen. Sometimes people assume that 'Literacy' is only linked to reading and writing abilities but that is incorrect.
All forms of communication are part of the notion of literacy: reading, writing, speaking and listening are all interlinked.
So, here are… 10 ways of supporting your child's literacy skills at home.
- Of course, we at Wee Bookworms know that reading books to babies and young children is incredibly important. Have as many books at home as possible! Don't forget about the illustrations: encourage your child to explore the different elements, shapes and colours. If you are looking for a bookish gift for your little one, then one of our Book Subscriptions might be just the right thing. One thing is certain: a bedtime story every night from when they are little does not only nurture a love for books but it also supports children's vocabulary and comprehension. Share stories (and if possible, come up with your own) as often as possible; at mealtime, in the car, in the queue at the supermarket… which leads me to the next point.
- Create story books with your child. Did you go on a nice walk together? Why don't you write about it! What did you see, how did you feel? What was your favourite moment? Collect leaves, flowers and glue them into your book. Print out some photos and… tadaaaa… you've got your own story book that you can talk about again and again. It's also a wonderful keepsake for your child!
- Babies and young children absorb language, although I would refrain from saying that kids are like sponges. Repetition is key! New vocabulary and concepts can only be remembered by the child if they are repeated (that's why you should always read books more than once!)
- Talk about your daily activities, experiences….. and, above all, ask your child questions. 'How' and 'why' questions are especially meaningful: 'How was school today?", 'Why do you dislike the other story?', 'How did you do this?'… These sort of questions can also lead to interesting discussion.
- Do some arts and crafts together! Not only are arts & crafts activities incredibly important for children's creativity and motor skills but also for their literacy. In art classes or during arts & crafts sessions at home, children may need to follow specific instructions. They have to listen carefully! If it's a 'free-style' art session, they need to think carefully about their next steps. Arts and crafts activities provide fantastic opportunities to talk about general things as well as about your child's artistic creations: 'Why did you pick this colour?', 'Can you tell me a little bit about your painting?'
- Explain new, freshly-encountered words. Take your time and explain the meaning of something. If possible, give you child a few examples of the word in a sentence.
- Listen to music. Sing and dance! Get the Disney music playing. I'm certain that your little one will know the lyrics in no time.
- Open your child's eyes to his or her surroundings. Read signs in your local area and explain what they mean.
- Do you have to write another incredibly long shopping list? Why don't you ask your child to help? Whether you need to write invitations or your next to-do-list; try to involve your child in your daily activities.
- Go to your local bookshop and library… Bookshops and libraries are magical, wonderful places that will give you and your child plenty to talk about. A lot of bookshops offer free storytime sessions as well as arts & crafts workshops. Events like this also give your child an opportunity to meet and talk to children they don't know.