5 ways to help your preschooler on the path to literacy

Our Speech Pathologists are often asked by parents and carers for tips on how they can encourage the development of their child’s early literacy skills.

Here are a few tips to help your preschooler on the path to literacy:

  1. Enthusiasm is contagious, be excited about books! It’s not always easy, however if your preschooler senses your excitement around reading a story, joint attention will naturally follow. Alternatively, local libraries often host read-aloud programs/events. You’ll have the added bonus of being able to  pick up recommended books while you’re there!
  2. Encourage print awareness – help your child to understand that printed letters represent words that are spoken. You can also read books with large bold print and use your fingers to point out words as you move across the page.
  3. Encourage Phonological Awareness – this is the process of helping your child to understand that words are made of up of smaller sounds. For example,  (“What begins with the /b/ sound?… bat, brown, banana).
  4. Introduce New Vocabulary – Label things! Try to choose books with words not used in daily conversations. Extend your world beyond books. Grocery shopping is a great way to multi-task and grow your child’s vocabulary. Start by asking your child some questions such as ‘Do you see a green fruit, a red vegetable?’ or ‘Do you think this lemon is sweet or sour?’.
  5.  Practice Narrative Skills – Have your child describe things and events and talk with them about what you are doing. This is great to do whilst doing daily tasks such as cooking or washing up. You can also read stories with a beginning, middle, and end and ask them to retell the story with prompts like “what happens next?”

Our team of trained Speech Pathologists are available to provide early learning and school readiness screenings. Our screening program has been designed for preschool and kindergarten aged children to help with the early identification of any specific communication difficulties.