Songs, Rhymes, Bounces
Encouraging Early Literacy in Preschoolers

You can encourage the 6 early literacy skills in preschoolers with the 5 early literacy practices. Here are some examples:

Reading aloud to your child is the single most important activity for building the skills necessary for reading success. Preschoolers are excited and inquisitive by nature, so take the time to read a variety of both fiction and non-fiction books to encourage their curiosity in the world around them. Ask lots of questions about what you are reading, point out simple words and letter combinations, and choose books that have a higher incidence of rare and less common vocabulary.

Preschoolers are learning the alphabet and are excited to show off their printing skills. Encouraging your child to practice making lines, curves, and other drawings will later motivate them to print letters on purpose. Preschoolers are ready to make marks or scribbles that they then identify as letters of the alphabet. Take the time to support this type of writing in your preschooler.

Preschoolers often have lots of stories to tell and playing with your child encourages storytelling, imagination, and narrative skills. When preschoolers act out stories they are also discovering and making sense of the world around them. You can help your child by talking about their play, asking them to describe what they are doing, assigning roles, and naming props.

Children love to sing and preschoolers especially are able to remember words and tunes. A great way to combine reading and singing is to read books that can be sung. These can include nursery rhymes and books that promote singing. Songs often have a diverse vocabulary with words such as “tuffet” and “cavern” and can introduce words that are not found in everyday language. Singing also helps preschoolers learn the structural sounds to words and speech.

One of the best ways to prepare preschoolers for reading and to increase vocabulary is to talk to your children…about everything! The more words a child hears in conversations during their early childhood years, the larger their vocabularies will be when they are school aged. Having a big vocabulary helps when seeing new words for the first time in print.

Other Resources

Preschooler Activity Calendar - Alberta Health Services
Centre for Family Literacy - Resources for Parents
Zero to Three: Early Literacy and Language Tips and Tools
Canadian Paediatric Society - Read, Speak, Sing video