When you hear “early literacy” do you picture a young child reading novels? While that would be an awesome feat, we want to share what early literacy actually means. The American Library Association does a great job of describing it: “Early literacy (reading and writing) does not mean early reading instruction or teaching babies to read; it is the natural development of skills through the enjoyment of books, the importance of positive interactions between babies and parents, and the critical role of literacy-rich experiences.
“Literacy development begins at birth and is closely linked to a baby’s earliest experiences with books and stories. Babies learn language through social literacy experiences – parents interacting with them using books.”
More simply put, early literacy is everything that children know about reading and writing before they can read and write. In addition to reading to and with your child, equally important to building early literacy skills is participating in early literacy-rich activities including songs, games, and play. Simple activities such as play acting a story you’ve read with your child or drawing pictures and talking about them can help make connections to language and the written word.
Visit our blog regularly for a monthly Early Literacy Activity calendar full of fun, impactful early literacy activities that emphasize talking, reading, writing, singing, and playing with the pre-readers in your life. You can also learn what the Library Foundation is doing to further enhance early literacy and encourage lifelong learning in our community with our Ready to Read and Take 20 and Read programs at www.stchlibraryfoundation.org