Encouraging Literacy In Very Young Children

Posted on Aug 25 2014 - 8:54am by Alana Burton


Literacy is incredibly important in young children. The sooner your children learn to read, the sooner they gain access to the huge wealth of knowledge contained in books, or in any other form of material that uses written language as a medium.

Reading regularly can reduce stress, improves literacy levels, and in very young children, reading to them and encouraging them to read will put them at an advantage when it comes to starting school and tackling written problems.

Recognising the Alphabet

Patience is the key with most forms of learning and although you might expect your child’s first teachers to be the ones to teach your child the alphabet, it really makes a difference if you take an active stance in your child’s learning.

By starting them off early you can help your child to recognise the different letters in the alphabet which will give them a head start when they do start attending school. Alphabet Soup and Alphabet fridge magnets are just two examples of ways you can help your child to recognise the different letters. Orchard Toys are also incredibly popular with both children and parents/teachers as they are both educational whilst colourful and fun and maintain a child’s attention span to get them learning when they don’t even realise they are!

It takes little to no effort to sit with your young child and help them to get acquainted with the alphabet and soon you may even notice your child taking an interest in learning the alphabet on their own if you manage to integrate it into your daily routine.

Reading Time

Having a daily routine is a crucial part of a young child’s life and it can be extremely beneficial to introduce a reading time into this daily routine. The child will soon see it as a natural part of the day and reading can be used as a ‘winding down’ activity at the end of the day as it requires concentration but has proven to reduce stress as it is not a competitive activity, unlike sport or video games.

Reading simple stories aloud to your child each night is an activity that both a child and a parent can enjoy, and with repetition your child will gradually begin to learn the basic concept of storytelling. Soon they’ll be reading along with you and will certainly know it if you happen to skip a page or two! There are a number of reading books aimed at young children that will always appear in the Top 10 lists and beginning with some of these fun entries will encourage further reading and the images are sure to delight young ones too. Some of our favourites authors include Julia Donaldson (The Gruffalo, enough said!), Rod Campbell, Oliver Jeffers (amazing illustrations) and Jill Murphy, among many others!

Children learn quickly, however it is essential that you take the time out of your day to regularly sit down with your child and a simple book so that they eventually gain the confidence to try out reading for themselves. If you feel it is progressing well, you can always try encouraging them to read a story out loud for you at bed time!

Encouraging Growth

It is important to encourage children to read regularly. Spending a little time each day to read with your child will help them to recognise letters and then eventually words and will give them a better understanding of both the written and the spoken language. Soon enough your child will start to enjoy reading on their own and will grow to love books and gradually discover the world of fascinating stories and characters, which stimulates the development of the naturally inquisitive mind of a child of any age.

Even if you have no interest in reading, nurture this desire in a young child, as reading will help them to develop key memory skills as well as enhance both their vocabulary and their literary skills, which has unlimited benefits when it comes to formal schooling. Give your child the gift of reading by encouraging them from an early age.

About the Author

As a parent of a pre-school age child, Alana Burton has a keen interest in early years education. She writes about relevant issues for Red Box Teacher Recruitment, providers of temporary teachers as well as auxiliary staff for schools in London.