If you’ve got a young child or toddler, you may have heard of the term “Emergent Literacy“. Emergent Literacy are the skills children develop before reading. A child telling himself a story, by holding the book correctly and using the words to turn the pages is one example, another child using her crayon to write her name, even if it’s just scribbles is another.
Literacy, is still important and highly relevant in today’s technological age. Emails, blogs, reading gaming instructions, searches are all areas where reading and understanding is crucial.
So why should you care about Emergent Literacy?
Emergent Literacy is not just about reading and writing, it’s about communicating. Communicating well helps with connection, self-esteem and success.
With that in mind, here are a few unusual ways to help encourage communication, problem-solving and achieving goals
Go out on a hike
or scavenger hunt or to a new environment. And don’t hurry. You want to take your time, point out things that are unusual. Have your child, touch, smell, listen and if they can, taste. Remember to ask questions and use unusual and interesting (and funny) words. Your child will probably express themselves and ask questions more when they are exploring a sensory-rich environment.
Have a predictable routine
Routines seem to be the opposite of the sensory-rich environment, but this is excellent for teaching them sequencing. What comes first? What is next? What do we use when we have a snack. Sequencing is very important in a child’s learning and development.
Cook with your child
Cooking with your child gives them the pleasure of a sensory experience, but it also gives them a chance to listen and follow instructions. Things must be measured out only a certain amount of this or that must be added in a certain order. You can start off with some very easy recipes such as a sandwich and then something more complicated like baking when they are older.
If they have a problem ask them to come up with a solution
Too many of us (I am guilty of this with my students) try to help children solve their problems, when they can try and often succeed in solving it themselves! Problem solving is key in literacy skills as we are usually trying to understand a point of view, facts or instructions when reading.
Do some reading yourself
Showing an interest and enjoyment in reading shows a child that you value literacy. It can be the newspaper, magazines or your favorite novel, but reading more books yourself is a great way to promote literacy and create a literacy rich home.
Now, this list does not mean that you should stop reading to your child and providing them with books, on the contrary, but literacy is not just about reading, it is about developing skills that your child will need for the rest of his or her life.
Lakshmi Gosyne is an author, illustrator, web designer and teacher. She worked as a preschool and primary school teacher for 16 years before writing two yoga story books: Jungle Walk: A Yoga Story for Kids and Waiting for Dad: A Yoga Story for Kids. You can find out more at www.lakshmigosyne.com