According to the 2019 student assessment report, only 34% of fourth-grade students nationwide performed at or above the NAEP Proficient level in reading. This is alarming because the NAEP Proficient level demonstrates the strength of a child’s academic performance and competency over challenging subject matter. If children possess poor academic proficiency, it can eventually affect their overall academic performance. One of the predictors of high academic achievement among children is their literacy skills, which are developed at a young age.
Literacy development in children is proven to be pivotal in boosting academic performance. It was shown that language exposure in children aged 12 months to 24 months leads to higher language skills and IQ scores through age 14. Reading also stimulates brain development in children, promoting social and emotional skills that contribute to healthy lifestyles. This illustrates how developing literacy skills in the first months of life enhance all aspects of a child’s lifelong education.
As parents, you have a significant role in supporting your child’s literacy skills at an early age. If they’re attending school, you can join parent-teacher collaborations to proactively address learning or behavior challenges your child might encounter during the early stages of their school life. And even if your child started to attend formal academies, you should still flourish their skills by doing literacy-enriching activities at home.
Here are three tips to support your child’s early literacy development:
Read together every day
Regularly reading to your child is one of the best ways you can help your child develop their literacy skills. There are various benefits of reading books every day, but its most significant advantage is that it allows your child to build and expand their vocabulary. It’s because the language in books is much richer than the conversational language you use at home. Studies revealed that parents who read one picture book with their children every day expose their children to an estimated 78,000 words each year. If you do this consistently for five years, research estimates that your child can hear a cumulative 1.4 million more words from reading alone. By reading various books to your young child, they can encounter and hear rare words that will enable them to recognize words in print when they start reading on their own.
Converse with them regularly
Apart from learning the words, it’s important to be able to speak them. An article explained how oral language skills are crucial for young children participating in social interactions and when learning in classrooms. They claimed that children with language difficulties are at high risk of educational failure and may experience social-emotional and behavioral difficulties that may persist into adulthood. So, always engage in conversations with your child to encourage them to use and practice the words they learned. You can ask them how their day went in school or questions about the story they recently read. Ultimately, engaging in conversations with your child will help them to express their thoughts and feelings, boost their self-confidence, and become great communicators.
Play word games
To make learning more fun, you can incorporate games into their routine. This can include exercises that have them naming a word that rhymes with another word or doing crossword puzzles together with small prizes. By exposing your child to word games, they can improve their logical and strategic thinking skills, and it can also increase their concentration and attention span. There are various ways to approach this activity. If you allow your child to have screen time, you can let them play games like Aim 2 Spell, a vocabulary and spelling game suitable for kindergarten to 8th-grade children. For a more traditional word activity, I Spy is a great game where it encourages children to speak and identify objects around them. Not only is it a fun and enriching activity for your child, but it’s also a great family bonding pastime.
Article written by Renee Janice
Exclusively submitted to The Classical Academies