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Supporting Early Literacy Skills

Why early literacy?

Language and literacy play a crucial role during the first years of a child’s life. Both are learned and fostered through direct instruction, through conversation, and social engagement. Also, vocabulary plays an important part in building early literacy skills because it helps the child build on their language. When looking at the relationship between vocabulary and reading development, early vocabulary knowledge at 2-3 years of age is predictive of future language and reading achievement. As professionals, it is important to provide parent education, resources, and support to help parents with their child’s learning.


What are some books to begin with?

  • Carle, Eric. My Very First Book Of Colors; The Very Hungry Caterpillar
  • Eastman, Philip D. Are You My Mother?
  • Hill, Eric. “Spot” series.
  • Martin, Bill Jr. Brown Bear, What Do You See?; Chicka, Chicka, Boom, Boom.
  • Zion, Gene. Harry the Dirty Dog.


What are some ideas and strategies that may help?

  1. Reading predictable books with your child is a great way to help children understand how stories progress. Pick a story that has repeated phrases, such as this example from The Three Little Pigs:
  • Wolf Voice: Little pig, little pig, let me come in.
  • Little Pig: Not by the hair on my chinny-chin-chin!
  • Wolf Voice: Then I’ll huff and I’ll puff and I’ll blow your house in!
  1. It is important to continuously talk with your child. This can include during bathing, eating, or playing time. Examples include repeating a variety of different objects in the environment and also providing the opportunity for the child to respond.
  1. Talk with your child when you read together. Throughout the story, point to pictures and name what is in them (i.e., “Oh look! It’s a duck.”).
  1. Take the opportunity to go to the library with your child. When going to the library, check out a book for yourself. This sets a good model and example by letting your child see that you are also reading.
  1. Try to spend at least 30 minutes each day reading to and with your child.
  1. Children are fascinated by how books look and feel. They see how easily you handle and read books, and they want to do the same. When your child watches you handle books, he or she begins to learn that a book is for reading, not tearing or tossing around. Before he or she is 3, he or she may even pick one up and pretend to read, an important sign that she is beginning to know what a book is for.


Troia, G. (2014). Phonological Processing Deficits and Literacy Learning. In, C.A Stone., E.R.Silliman, B.J.Ehren, & J.P. Wallach (Eds.). Handbook of language and literacy: Development and disorders. (pp. 227-245). City: New York. Guilford Press.