Literacy in Early Years 

My son always asks me, “Why are letters so important, Mummy?”

This is a fair comment at his age; only a few words make sense when trying to read and even reading is still matching pictures, making out the sounds, recognising letters and developing words.

When he reads to us he looks at the pictures and makes up a story which is developing his communication skills whilst practicing reading. First steps of many to help develop his reading in early years.

Teaching literacy is important for early years especially allowing them to be comfortable with storytelling, using creative thoughts, developing the imagination.

Simple steps to remember when reading to the child are to read a book they like, to ask questions on what is on the page, for example, did they see the yellow boat and green dragon? What are they doing? Do dragons belong on boats? And many more. Sound out some words and ask them to follow the words as you say them. Have your finger on the words following the flow from left to right of the sentence.

Try to engage with your child in a way they enjoy reading with you; place this in your routine before bed or when at having quiet time.

I attended a workshop for my Dialogic Reading which is;

‘Simply put, dialogic reading is taking turns in a conversation about a book, or reading and talking about it. Talking about books is important for small children. Researchers have learned that when children are regularly engaged in repeating, correcting, and expanding their use of language around a book, they improve their language and literacy skills.’

This workshop taught the following steps;

C – Completion – fill in the blank: the dog jumped over the _______

R – Recall – Remember aspects of the book: was the boy wearing a yellow shirt when riding his bike?

O – Open ended questions – Respond to Book in own words: tell me about the dragons next adventure?

W – What, Where, Why Questions: What did the girl say to her teacher? Where was the girl when she said _____? Why did the teacher say _______ to the little girl?

D – Distancing – Relate the content of the book to own experiences in real life: Do you remember when you visited the zoo and what animals did you see?

Using this approach in early years has helped to develop childrens’ communication skills, literacy, creativity, imagination and many more areas.

There are many useful websites for reading


– Pinterest activities

What activities have you learned that have been helpful? Please do share in the comments below.

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