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 Early Literacy Tip is: Nurture your child’s imagination.
Pretend play and make-believe are crucial in developing your child’s ability to solve problems and their learning. It helps them put their thoughts into words helping them better express themselves and work out some of their worries and fears.
Playing games with your child is a great way to encourage their imagination as well. Letting them dress up, perhaps, as their favorite character from one of their favorite books. You can also give them materials to help them use their imagination; they can build with blocks or maybe “cook” with Play Doh (here’s our video on making your own Play Doh at home!) Puppets are another great way to encourage imaginative play. Wordless books, as we’ve mentioned before, help encourage their storytelling and narrative skills.
You can help kick-start your child’s imagination at one of the libraries virtual Play and Learn programs, and you search the online catalog and Libby for some authors whose works are especially imaginative such as: