early literacy

Before a child can learn to read, he or she needs to understand that there is a connection between the sounds they hear and the letters they see on a page.  Of course, the first step is this process is learning to say and write the alphabet.  But letter awareness is not enough, a child also needs to hear how letters sound and connect those sounds to the written symbols.  Here are some activities that may help your child begin to associate the letter sounds they hear with the written language they see.

  • Make the alphabet a tactile experience.  Construct letters from sand paper, macaroni, clay, or even pennies.  Say the letter sound with your child as they touch and feel each letter.
  • Make the letters of the alphabet a constant topic of conversation with your child.  Point out and sound out letters and words on signs, toys, in stores and restaurants, on cereal boxes.
  • Have a set of letters, magnetic or otherwise, available for your child to play with around the house.  Match up letters with objects (t for table, c for cat), and be sure to say the word and its beginning sound aloud.  Use the letters to make words, and encourage your child to make words as well.  Nonsense words are fine here, you are concentrating on combining the written word with the appropriate sounds.  Just be sure to read the words you make aloud.
  • Read to your child.  Every so often, place your finger under the words as you are reading, to show the child that you are not reading the pictures, but the written symbols on the page.

Have fun helping your child learn to read!

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