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: Let Your Child Play with Their Hands
Playing is an essential part of the Every Child Ready to Read program. Play encourages your child to learn and explore the world around them and it helps them process the stories they hear and will eventually read. Playing also encourages your child to express themselves and put their thoughts and actions into words.
Playing goes beyond literacy, however, and can also help your child physically. Playing with toys encourages both fine and gross motor skills, as well as being essential to developing the hand-strength they will need to form a proper writing grip. Developing this hand-strength is important in counteracting today’s technological age of simply pushing buttons and using screens.
You can play with your child all the time, anywhere, and anything can become a toy as long as it is safe and appropriate for your child.
One of our favorite playtimes is during bath-time: fill the bathtub with your child’s favorite toys and let your child explore. They can also play and squeeze sponges, wash towels and even bottles. It can be loads of fun, just make sure they don’t get soap in their eyes.
Playing with your child and encouraging them to use their hands is one of the best things you can do for and with your child to get them ready to learn to read. It also happens to be one of the most fun!
Here are some books from the library collection about bath-time:
- King Bidgood’s in the Bathtub by Don and Audrey Wood
- Rub-a-Dub Sub by Linda Ashman
- Captain Bob Sets Sail by Roni Schotter
- Maisy Takes a Bath by Lucy Cousins
- Harry the Dirty Dog by Gene Zion
Check out the blog for more Early Literacy Tips to get your child ready to read!