Supporting and encouraging young children’s emerging literacy does not have to be difficult. Child care providers can be great role models to help young children learn reading skills. If providers read and write with children, the children are more likely to enjoy reading and writing and to learn that literacy is important.
Many child care providers read books aloud, but forget that there are other ways to encourage children’s emerging literacy skills. Here are some simple things child care providers can do in the early childhood curriculum that build young children’s developing literacy skills.
- Have books around for children to look at when they want
- Keep paper and crayons handy for children to draw and write
- Label some things in the environment so children get used to seeing print
- Talk about books you read together
- Sing songs together. Practice the words out loud until children learn them.
- Let children see you reading newspapers, magazines and books
- Let children help you write grocery lists, write letters to family, or copy favorite recipes
- Bring in junk mail and let children open and “read” it
- Build in times for children to tell stories, and listen with interest
- Tell them stories told to you as a child
- Take children to the library. Make choosing a library book a fun event.
For More Information
To learn more about supporting young children’s developing language and literacy skills, take a look at the following eXtension Alliance for Better Child Care articles:
- Helping Young Children Learn New Words
- Helping Young Children Learn to Pronounce Words
- Helping Young Children Learn the Sounds of Letters
- Helping Young Children Understand What They Have Read
- Helping Young Children Learn to Write
- How to Read Aloud with Children in Child Care
- Suggestions Child Care Providers Can Use to Choose Books for Young Children
- Talking with Babies in Child Care
- Ways to Get Children in Your Child Care Program Ready For Reading
To find activities to build on your favorite children’s books, check out the database of Story-Stretching Ideas for Child Care. Each book in the database has a read-aloud guide and 8 – 10 activity ideas that expand the story.