Learn With Me: Early Literacy from A to Z
Early literacy is more than just reading, talking and singing with your child. What you say and share has just as much impact as how it's delivered.
Whether its through books, conversations or jokes, a shared and diverse mix of activities and interactions with young children can shape the way they see, interpret and understand the world around them.
Each month, we'll journey through the alphabet, discovering different ways of creating memories and moments to share with the children in your life.
O is for Outdoor Play
When children have time to move and play outside they are strengthening their brain and physical development. Children can develop their fine and gross motor skills, improve their dexterity and balance all through exploration and risk-taking while having fun outdoors.
Outside, there is more room to stretch their bodies and their creativity and no concerns over volume control. Outdoor play is a full-bodied experience that puts all 5 senses to use in the child, enhancing language, cognition and social-emotional development in a fun and healthy way.
Early Literacy at the Park
What can you do?
See: Talk about the trees, the plants and the animals and insects you see at the park. Walk down a path with your eyes closed, then again with them open. How is it different?
Hear: Close your eyes and listen to the sound around you. What do you hear? Who or what is making noise? The other children, cars, birds, etc. Try to mimic the sounds that you hear around you.
Touch: What is the different between sand and tanbark? Make marks in the sand using a stick or twig. Make piles out of the tanbark.
Smell: Smell the trees, flowers and grass. What memories do the smells bring up for you?
Build Natural Vocabulary
Outside play is a great way to reinforce mathematical and spatial skills all while expanding vocabulary.
When children have the chance to physically act out action words like: stomp, pounce, slither, climb or other descriptive words like smooth, rough, gentle, firm, word comprehension is immediate and long lasting. Outdoor play promotes emergent literacy and a love of language.
Directional words like; below, behind, above, around, high, low, wide and narrow promotes mathematical concepts and a great understanding of their meanings as children act out these words.
Books to Share
Books are a great way to introduce ideas and concepts about nature to your child before making your first trip outdoors.
P is for Pointing
From day one, newborns and infants are ready to communicate and connect with the people in their lives. Babies communicate with others through sound (crying, cooing, giggling) facial expressions (smiling, pouting, eye contact) and gestures (body movements and pointing).
Infants start pointing to objects in their environment when they are actively trying to share something of interest with someone. Follow their gaze and name the object they are pointing to. Ask questions, provide extra details, and if possible, bring the object closer to the child for inspection and exploration.
These moments of connection not only model conversation styles and help build vocabulary, they also bridge the communication gap between grown-up and child.
Not Just For Kids
Pointing isn’t just for kids. Grown-ups can use this communication method to help build their child’s vocabulary and understanding of their word.
Things to point to
Words in a Book: Point to the words in a book you are sharing. Point to street signs, grocery store labels, anything you can show to your child.
Everything Else: Point to pictures, toys, clothes, cars, etc., anything else that you can see. Name the object for your child. Provide some details about the object. What is it? Who uses it? Is it big or small? What color is it?
Books to Share
Books of all types are great tools. Point to the words, point to the pictures and talk about what you see.