What children need to know about reading and writing before they can read or write is called early literacy.
As your child’s caregiver, you are their first teacher. The greatest amount of brain growth occurs between birth and age five, a time your child spends with you. By age three, 85% of the brain’s core structure is formed. As a child ages, the brain gets rid of weaker synaptic connections in favor of stronger ones. We can improve the strength of synaptic connections with experiences that reinforce learning that has already occurred.
In our Building Blocks to Early Literacy series, we will share early literacy tips for you to do at home to help your child get ready to learn to read!
Today’s literacy tip is let your child tell you a story they are familiar with in their own words.
Narrative skills, or the ability for your child to tell a story, are very important to your child’s reading development. It helps them learn how stories work and how they are structured. It makes them better able process what they have read and gives them an opportunity to guess what might be coming next.
When you are reading to your child, stop every now and then and ask your child what they think is going to happen. Whether or not they have ever heard the story before they will likely be able to predict what happens next.
Every child has a favorite story, one that you have read to them dozens of times. The next time your child asks you to read their favorite story, ask them to read the story to you. They can “read” from the book using the pictures as a guide or they can just tell you the story from memory – either way you will both have a great time reliving the story through your child’s eyes and memory.
Another good idea is to find a book without words (just pictures) and let your child “narrate” the story to you.
Some picture books don’t tell a linear story so be on the lookout for those authors that do; you can find narrative stories in both the picture book area and the Early Readers.