In today’s competitive society, it is easy to think that earlier is always better when it comes to learning. Children are often expected to master skills like learning to read simple sentences or to write their names by a certain age. But just as children grow and develop socially at different times, their brains also develop at different rates.
For literacy specifically, normal development for learning to read and write usually ranges between the ages of 4 and 9. However, while brain development cannot be rushed, parents can nurture the foundational skills that support literacy starting from birth up until children are developmentally ready.
To encourage literacy skill development in children from birth through age 5, parents can use the following tips:
- Talk to children often. According to national nonprofit Zero to Three, talking to children benefits their language skills starting from birth. As children get older, engage them in conversations about their day, ask them questions, tell jokes and make up stories together.
- Make reading together a daily routine. Fill your children’s bookcases with both fiction and nonfiction books, and read together regularly. For infants and toddlers, read cardboard books so they can practice turning the pages, and ask them to point to familiar objects on the page (e.g., “Where is the ball?”). For preschool-aged children, ask open-ended questions about the book and point out familiar letters.
- Play rhyming and sound games. While in a waiting room or in the car, take turns saying a word like “cat” and having your preschooler answer with a rhyming word like “bat” and nonsense words like “yat” or “zat.” For younger children, practice animal noises. As they learn about different animals, ask them to tell you what sound each animal makes. This is a great way for them to start learning how to identify different language sounds and replicate them.
- Set up a writing table in your primary living space. Writing is part of daily life, so it’s important to make it easily accessible and part of daily life for children. Starting from when they are around 2 years old, encourage them to write and experiment with different literacy tools by gathering materials like blank paper, crayons, markers and more on a table in the room where your family spends the most time.
- Provide activities at home that support motor development. Both gross and fine motor skill development aid children in learning to write. Encourage your children to climb, run and skip outdoors to build gross motor strength, and provide stacking and dressing activities to grow fine motor skills.
Incorporating these tips into children’s daily activities can help promote brain development and guide them toward literacy mastery. But remember, every child learns at a different pace! Don’t fret if your little one is taking longer than others to read and write – it will all happen when he or she is developmentally ready.
To learn about the Rigley Primrose Schools, visit the school websites or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For more helpful parenting tips and information, visit our blog at www.PrimroseSchools.com/blog and sign up for the Pointers for Parents newsletter.
Primrose School of Frisco West | (214) 469-1381 | www.primrosefriscowest.com
Primrose School of Park Cities | (972) 685-2100 | www.primroseparkcities.com
Primrose School of Plano at Preston Meadow | (972) 964-6826 | www.primroseplanoprestonmeadow.com
Primrose School of Prestonwood | (469) 791-9131 | www.primroseprestonwood.com
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