Early Literacy: What Kids Know About Reading and Writing Before They Know What Reading and Writing Is!
July 30, 2013
There are many definitions and theories about early literacy. My personal favorite is the one that says, early literacy is what kids know about reading and writing before they even know about reading and writing. I am sure you are asking yourself how anyone can know anything about anything before they even know what it is.
Well, when you are reading in the presence of a small child, you are really modeling what to do with a book. If you hand the book to the child, they will open it, turn the pages, and even pretend to read. Do they know that they are pretending to read? No, they are mimicking what they see you do. When you read aloud to a child, they learn that those funny looking black things make a story. And, this story has a beginning, a middle, and an end. These observant beings learn that you read the thing from left to right, and this thing is called a book. The pictures in the book can also help tell the story.
They learn that these symbols have sounds associated with them and that they even have a name. They quickly learn that the names of these symbols are called letters, and they can be sung in a song. These letters also make up their name and the names of those around them. Letter and sounds start to make sense. Each letter is formed in a unique way. They practice copying the shape of these letters. They learn to make the sounds associated with each written combination of letters, and before they know it, they are reading.
Oh, how proud we are to see our children put together those pieces of what they knew, before they knew what it was called: early literacy. It sounds very academic and educational, and in some realms, it is. But for the purpose of this blog, it is simply letting your child mimic the reading behaviors of those around them and taking comfort in knowing all the pieces will fit together someday.