The Importance of Early Literacy: Rhyme and Reason

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by UPAT Parent Educator Sheila Chaney

Young children prepare to read long before they enter school. Early literacy is the songs you sing, the melody of your voice, and the books you read out loud. It’s everything children know about reading and writing before they can actually read and write. Remember, they will learn to read and write in school. But your job right now is to give them the love of learning. Best way to do that is Example, Example, and Example.

Children’s skills begin to develop in the first 5 years of life.  Their early childhood experiences with music, patterns, and books lay the foundation to success in learning to read and write. From day one they listen to all the sounds around them and feel startled or comforted by what they hear and see.

I know you have heard it over and over that you are your child’s first teacher. You keep hearing it because it is true. Reading, singing, and playing with your child is important to their development. Be silly and have fun, enjoy this beautiful time with them. (You’ll be so surprised later to see what a short moment it really is.) Talk and listen to your child and you will hear what they are learning from you.

Nursery rhymes are almost gone. Bring them back to life by reading them to your child. What are some of the songs you loved to hear as a child? Keep passing those gems on for generations.

Every chance, do some finger play, bells, and drums, anything with music with motion. It is fun for you and your child.

Your love for learning will be passed on to your child. Have an atmosphere of learning in your home and take time to learn yourself. Remember your child wants to learn from you.  Your voice is the music that they want to hear. They want you to read the same story over and over because they want to listen to you and learn.

Another great tip is to take your child to the library and introduce them to new books. Get one for you too! (Even if it is only a magazine) Reading to my children is one of my best memories. We own their favorite childhood book. Oh and surprise, it just happens to be my favorite book too.

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