Learning to read and write begins very early in life. Emergent literacy suggests that the development of literacy is taking place within the child. It also suggests that it is a gradual process and will take place over time. To emerge, something needs to be there at the beginning (the child’s own natural learning ability) and will emerge under the right conditions. Literacy refers to the inter-relatedness of language – speaking, listening, reading, writing. Children have very early contact with written language. By age 2 or 3 many children can identify signs, labels and logos in homes and communities. Young children also experiment with writing. Early scribbling displays characteristics of the writing system of their culture. It is never too early to begin emergent literacy activities.
- Read environmental signs. Go for a walk or when riding in the car, read the signs out loud. In the grocery store. Read the signs above the aisles out loud when shopping with your kids. This is also a great categorization skill.
- Wordless books. Use books without words to make your own stories.
- Repetitive books. Read repetitive books so your child can help you read.
- Predictable books. Read predictable books and books with clues so that it becomes an active interaction instead of passive.