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Developing Literacy Skills from an Early Age

Developing Literacy Skills from an Early Age




Developing Literacy Skills from an Early Age


Is it ever too early to begin teaching literacy skills to your child?  Research would say that it is not.  Parents of infants and toddlers are in an excellent position to begin cultivating a love of learning in their children.


When many people hear the term “literacy skills,” they automatically think of reading.  While reading to your child is very important, it is not the only way to begin developing literacy skills with your young child.


One way to help your infant or toddler begin to develop their vocabulary is by simply talking to them throughout the course of their day.  When you are out running errands with them, use rich, descriptive words to describe things to them.  When caught in a rainstorm, describe the “cold, wet raindrops,” the “crashing and booming thunder that sounds far away,” or the “bright white lightening.”  Describe things in as much detail as you can to them to help them start developing their vocabulary.


Rhyming words are essential pre-reading skills, so spend time telling nursery rhymes and singing all kinds of songs to your child.  You can even make up silly words to make you both laugh.  


When you do read books to your infant or toddler, it is a good idea to pick a chunky “board” book or a soft, washable book.  Both are very kid friendly and relatively easy to clean.  Look through the book and talk about the pictures.  Find items in your home that are the same as the items in the book.  


As much as children love to read, there will be times when they will be “done” after only a couple of minutes.  It is perfectly acceptable to stop reading in the middle.  It is best not to force a small child to finish a book so that they continue to think of reading as a positive activity.  


As you are reading to your child, show your child the words.  Run your finger along underneath the words as you read, left to right.  This begins teaching your child the mechanics of reading: that we read top to bottom, left to right.


Finally, as your child gets older and begins to have favorite stories, let them “read” the story to you.  As young as the age of three, children can memorize a story and love to be creative in their storytelling.


For more information about Calvary University’s Family Literacy Program, check here.

Developing Literacy Skills from an Early Age

Encouraging Literacy for Teenagers





Encouraging Literacy for Teenagers


As children grow and become teenagers, we assume that since they have already learned how to read, as parents, our job in encouraging their literacy skills is complete.  We take for granted that the schools have done their jobs and our children have the skills to succeed in high school and beyond.  


However, this is not always the case. Just because a child can read a text seemingly without difficulty does not mean that the child comprehends what they are reading.  Many children are familiar enough with vocabulary and phonics that they can read textbooks fluently, but do they really understand what they are reading?


As parents, there are many things that we can do with our teenagers at home to increase their vocabulary, reading fluency, and comprehension.  Many of these activities are easy to fit in with normal family time and the skills learned can easily carry over to the classroom.


Here are some tips:

  • When you are at the dinner table or in the car, ask your teenager about what they are reading in their classes.  Have them describe stories to you and ask their opinion on what they have read.  This helps them organize the story in their head and analyze the material.
  • Based on your teen’s interests, suggest various types of books they can read.  If your son is interested in anime, point them in the direction of graphic novels.  If your daughter enjoys watching shows like Pretty Little Liars, introduce her to the books that inspired the show.  
  • Help your teenager learn to question what they read and hear.  Teach them that not everything they see and hear is true and accurate.  When you have a conversation with your teen about sources of information, you are helping them to understand an author’s bias and decide if they think the source is reliable.
  • Encourage your teen to discover their creativity.  Encourage them to keep a journal, write stories, and poetry as a way to deal with the challenges of being a teenager.  If they are musically inclined, encourage them to write songs as a way to express themselves.
  • Let your teenager teach you something.  Whether it be something they learn in class or their special cookie recipe, when teens are teaching something to someone else, they are reinforcing the information in their own minds.

When children are young, it is frequently said that parents are a child’s first and most important teachers.  However, that does not end once they enter elementary school.  It is a lifetime job.  During middle and high school, children have so many textbooks to read, they forget that reading can be fun!  Remind them of the enjoyment of reading!


For more information about Calvary University’s Family Literacy Program, check here.

Developing Literacy Skills from an Early Age

1000 Books Before Kindergarten

1000 Books before Kindergarten


There is no doubt that in today’s world; most of us are often running at a breakneck pace.  As parents, we are busy working, trying to run a household, and keeping up with social and volunteer obligations.  For many of us, it is difficult to slow down and take a breath.  However, when your preschooler cuddles up on your lap and asks you to read their favorite book, we pause for a moment and settle in to read Goodnight Moon for the thousandth time.

Research has shown that these times of reading to our young children proves to pay out huge dividends later down the road when they enter school.  Children have higher literacy skills and reading abilities throughout elementary school when their parents have read to them during their toddler and preschool years.

Additionally, reading to your small children increases parent-child bonding and helps children associate reading with positive feelings, such as safety and warmth.  They carry these feelings throughout their school careers.

Founded in Nevada in 2013, the 1,000 Books Foundation is a non-profit organization that hopes to promote reading to newborns, infants, and toddlers, as well as encourage parent and child bonding through reading.

Although it was founded in Nevada, The Foundation has helped libraries in all fifty states, as well as Canada, set up 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten programs at local levels.  Many of these libraries provide reading log sheets and small rewards that encourage your child along their quest to read 1,000 books.

The concept is easy, but the rewards are endless.  Read any book to your infant, toddler, or preschooler.  The target is to have read 1,000 books (and yes, you can reread favorites) before your child starts kindergarten.

If it sounds difficult, think of it this way: if you read one book every night for a year, that is 365 books.  That is 730 books in two years, and 1,095 books in three years.  Since most children start kindergarten at age five or six, you have more time than you may think.

If you are interested in learning more about this fantastic program or finding a participating library in your area, check out their website:


For more information about Calvary University’s Family Literacy Program, check here.