Early Literacy Tip: Play I Spy

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: Play I Spy

“I spy with my little eye…” is a great way to start your child on the path to early literacy. While engaging all five of your child’s senses they will learn to improve their object recognition, vocabulary and social skills; all very important steps in preparing your child to read. 

By trying to guess the objects you are spying your child is learning the names of things they see. Even if they aren’t necessarily the object you are talking about, this will help them learn color, size and location. Whether you are the spier or the guesser make sure and use the most descriptive clues you can and encourage the same type of description in your child. Feel free to ask them for a hint, even if you don’t need it.

Learning the names of objects increases a child’s vocabulary and increases their familiarity with these objects. This type of recognition will help them later when they are trying to recognize words in print. As we have discussed before, words are easier for your child to recognize when they have heard or said them before. 

Playing I Spy also helps your child’s social skills. It helps them with the concepts of cooperation and taking turns, especially if more than one child is playing. 

You can play I Spy anywhere – during a walk, in the car or even at the grocery store. You can even play I Spy during reading time with the I Spy series of books. I Spy books come in all reading levels so you’re always able to find one that fit’s your child’s reading and attention level. 

So, get out there, take a look around, and get your child ready to read while playing I Spy! See our list below of various “I Spy” books available from the library:

I Spy ABC! Totally Crazy Letters Request
In this hidden picture book, everyday objects are hidden within designs shaped like letters of the alphabet — from A to Z

I Spy 123! Totally Crazy Numbers Request
In this hidden picture book, both everyday and fantasy objects are hidden within designs shaped like the numbers 1 to 20

I Spy in the Sky Request
Up in the sky there are many colorful birds to spy, each of them different. Look through the spy hole and use the clues to guess which one is next

形状找找看 = 彩虹的颜色 I Spy Shapes = Rainbow colors Request
Chinese Picture Book

I Spy Pets Request
Guess which animal will be revealed using the given clues and a spy hole

The Great Art Treasure Hunt: I Spy Red, Yellow, and Blue Request
Find items in different works of art, from a Renaissance mural to an aboriginal work from Australia

I Spy a Funny Frog Request
Rhyming verses invite readers to find hidden objects in the photographs

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