Spring into Early Literacy

Spring is Here book coverThe change of season is a wonderful time to introduce early literacy skills with babies and toddlers.  The National Research Council recommends that children enter school with specific skills that prepare them to benefit more from classroom instruction. 


Each of the following six skills helps to lay the foundation for children to learn to read and write at the appropriate time.   
  1. Print Motivation: Find books on topics and with illustrations that interest your child and share them often.
  2. Print Awareness: Help your child discover how to hold a book and turn the pages.
  3. Phonological Awareness: Sing songs, play games and share rhymes to help your child hear and be able to play with small sounds in words.  Animal noises featured in nursery rhymes and many picture books contain sounds that will be helpful when children are sounding out words and learning to read independently.  Baa baa black sheep is a fun refrain for you to sing and one easily learned as well.  
  4. Vocabulary: Talk to your child about the names of all the new things that are appearing after the long winter.  Point out buds, blossoms, flowers and leaves as they appear on trees and in the garden.  Collect natural objects and identify them by name.  "Stick" is an easy word for a child to learn.  Birds and insects and wriggly things that crawl around the garden are fascinating to our young ones. All are potential new words for their bank of words and sounds.
  5. Narrative Skills: After a pleasant walk or playtime in the garden, recount with your child what you did and what animals, insects, plants or birds you encountered.  This will help your child learn to tell a story.  Narrative skills also can be developed by asking about the storyline in a book or library storytime experience.
  6. Number Skills: Count the birds that you see or the seeds that you plant as a natural part of your routine.  Climbing steps are an easy occasion for using numbers. Help children repeat the one, two three, and build the skill set gradually as your child grows more familiar with numbers.
Playing with these six skills with your child is easy and fun! Your District of Columbia Public libraries abound in books about Spring that are appropriate to read to toddlers and even babies.

While reading, connect the words and pictures.

Here is a list of some favorites: