Researchers say that there are six skills that are important for children to learn before they are ready to read:
- Print Motivation
- Print Awareness
- Narrative Skills
- Letter Knowledge
- Phonological Awareness
Phonological awareness indicates an understanding of the smaller sounds (syllables) in words, which leads to being able to sound out words when children begin to read.
Many different reading activities can aid in developing phonological awareness. Here are a few to get you started:
- Read a book with animal sounds, like Bark, George by Jules Feiffer. Animal sounds like baa, moo, and woof help children understand the smaller sounds in words since they are one syllable and are easy to repeat.
- Sing a song like "Twinkle, Twinkle. Little Star" with your little one, or read a book that can be sung, such as The Itsy Bitsy Spider by Iza Trapani. Singing helps slow down language so that little ones can hear the smaller sounds in words. When each syllable has a different note, you are breaking down words into parts, which helps with sounding out words.
- Read a book that encourages your child to make sounds or noises along with the story, like Down by the Station by Jessica Stockholm. Getting children engaged with participating during reading enhances early literacy skills.
- Read rhyming books, as little ones learn best by repetition. The repeated sounds will help them understand the sounds in words. Even better is a book that rhymes and uses word play like alliteration, such as Is Your Mama a Llama by Deborah Guarino.
- If you choose a book with great rhythm like Chuck's Band by Peggy Anderson, chant it rather than just reading it. Pat a drum (or just your lap) along to the beat.
Interested in more early literacy tips and great books? Attend story time with your child! Thanks for reading!
-- Cassie F., Children's Librarian