Frequently Asked Questions about Early Literacy
What is early literacy?
Early literacy is not
reading and writing. Early literacy is what children know about reading and writing before they can actually
read and write. Early literacy includes vocabulary, print motivation, print awareness, narrative
skills, phonological awareness, and letter knowledge.
Why is early literacy important?
Young children must develop early literacy skills in order to be successful
with formal reading and writing in school. 46% of children in the United States enter kindergarten unprepared.
Research shows that children who start behind typically stay behind. Providing young children with
opportunities to develop early literacy skills is important to their success in school, their success learning to read, and
their success in life.
What is vocabulary and why is it important?
Vocabulary is knowing the names of things. Children with large vocabularies
usually find it easier to read because they are familiar with many words and concepts. Research shows that
a child’s vocabulary at three years old is a predictor of their reading ability in third grade.
What is print motivation and why is it important?
Print motivation is a child's
interest in and enjoyment of books. Print motivation gives children the drive and interest in reading and writing that is
important to their success. Children with strong print motivation will work harder learning to read and
write because literacy is their personal goal.
What is print awareness and why is it important?
Print awareness is the very basic skills needed before a child can begin learning
to read. Print awareness includes noticing print everywhere, knowing how to handle a book, and knowing how to follow words
on a page. Children must have some print awareness before they can learn to read or write.
What is narrative skill and why is it
skill is the ability to describe things, explain events, and tell stories. The ability to talk about and explain what happens in a story helps a child understand the meaning of what was
read. Developing strong narrative skills leads to high levels of reading comprehension once children learn to read.
What is phonological awareness and why
is it important?
Phonological awareness is the ability to hear and play with the smaller sounds in words.
Being able to hear the sounds that make
up words helps children sound out words when they begin to read. Most children who have difficulty reading have trouble
with phonological awareness. It’s important to help young children develop this skill to make sure they are prepared
to read when they begin school.
What is letter knowledge and why is it important?
Letter knowledge is knowing that letters are different from each other and that
letters have different names and sounds. Before children can begin to read words, they must understand that words are made
up of letters and that each letter has its own sound.
How can I learn more about early literacy and help my child develop early literacy skills?
Early Literacy Everyday
provides free early literacy programs for parents.
Our programs help parents learn simple games, activities, and stories that will help their infants, toddlers, and preschoolers
develop the early literacy skills important to their success.