As a teacher, you play an important role in promoting Early Family Literacy. There are many great opportunities in which you can help nurture children’s literacy skills.

Encourage Children to Create Books

A great way to practice literacy skills while preserving memories of special events (e.g. field trips, family outings) is to have children make their own special books. If your child isn’t old enough to write yet you may need to transcribe what they’re saying for them. You can then read the words back to them as you point to each word so they can make the connection between written and spoken language.

Create Literacy-Related Prop Boxes

Create a themed dramatic play box with bundles of activities inside. Here you’ll want to include things like books, puppets, and other toys (e.g. paper, markers) that children can use to re-enact the story.

Have Long, Responsive Conversations

Enrich and expand your child’s language skills by engaging in a long conversation with them. Ask your child to give you a personal narrative about their experiences. Try to “strive for 5” back-and-forth exchanges in these conversations. A great time to do this is while you’re gathered around the dinner table because then you can share about your day with one another.

Point Out Signs and Labels

Show your child signs and labels in their environment. Point out words on street signs, labels, food items, or art supplies. Introduce your child to billboards, newspapers, and magazines. This will help with developing reading and language skills.

Play With Rhymes

Use a rhyming book to teach young children funny rhymes. Spend time together laughing about the rhymes. You can even play games where you come up with pairs of rhyming words together.

Introduce Unusual Words

Young children are great at learning new words, especially ones that are long and unusual. This makes it a great time to introduce sophisticated vocabulary words. You can have your child repeat the word after you and tell you what they think it might mean before telling them the real meaning of the word. Try tying these words in to your child’s interests or favorite books (e.g. some children love to learn the names of dinosaurs while others want to learn more about their favorite books).

The Bottom Line

There are a lot of great ways in which to encourage Early Family Literacy today. Sharing these ideas with your students’ families will help everyone become more engaged.

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