March 2024 Newsletter – Best Practices When Reading with Children: Developmentally Appropriate Literacy Learning in Early Childhood

Developmentally Appropriate Literacy Learning in Early Childhood

As early childhood educators, we are responsible for teaching the pre-literacy skills that will prepare our students to learn how to read as they get older. The goal is to provide the background knowledge they need to understand how letters and language work. As with all lessons, we have to ensure that literacy learning is fun, interactive, and developmentally appropriate. Using developmentally appropriate literacy activities will ensure that children develop a love of reading.

The single most effective way to teach young children the foundations of literacy, and establish a love for reading is to read to them daily. Reading aloud to young children is a fun and effective way to teach the skills emerging readers need. Another article in this newsletter examines further the effective use of interactive read aloud to teach literacy skills.

Encourage frequent trips to the library, attend book fairs, and host read-aloud events on a regular basis. If you are not able to bring in professional entertainers to read books to children, invite immediate and extended family members to visit the classroom and read their favorite children’s books to the group. There may be high school students in your area who need volunteer hours – They can volunteer to do so at your center.

When children begin to show interest, introduce the alphabet, starting with relevant letters, such as the letters of their name. Learning about upper and lower case letters, and beginning to recognize individual letter sounds in words are skills that are the foundation of reading. Helping our preschoolers develop phonemic awareness and master the alphabet is extremely important. There are many ways to help our students with phonemic awareness. Using songs, finger plays, games, poems, and stories with patterns of rhyme and alliteration will help our students with phonemic awareness.

The environment of our classroom is an important component of literacy learning. We must provide our students with print-rich environments that provide opportunities and tools for children to use written language for a variety of purposes. Label the objects in the environment so children associate the letters/words with the objects in the classroom.

Build components of literacy into every activity and lesson. Give the students opportunities to engage in play that incorporates literacy tools by adding paper and pencils to all of the learning centers.  Reading, writing, and listening centers should be well-stocked and accessible at all times. Both fiction and nonfiction books should be available in all centers to support the theme or the concept that is being taught.

Finally, reading experiences and lessons should be pleasurable and fun. When children enjoy the process, they are more likely to learn.

Children who learn basic comprehension skills, develop a significant vocabulary, and establish early phonemic awareness will be ready to learn more complex literacy skills as they enter elementary school. It is our responsibility to provide children with meaningful, everyday experiences, in which they build this foundation. Learning these foundational skills during the preschool years is of utmost importance if children become strong readers and communicators.


For the main article Best Practices When Reading with Children, CLICK HERE

For the article Tips and Strategies to Use When Reading With Children, CLICK HERE

For the article What are Interactive Read-Alouds?, CLICK HERE

For the article What Can Families do to Support Literacy Development at Home?, CLICK HERE