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Teaching a child to read can seem like a daunting task. Where do you begin? From birth to kindergarten is known as the emergent literacy period. While children are not necessarily “reading” books at this age in the way we think of reading (picking up a book and reading the text from start to finish), they are learning crucial skills to support future reading development. These early skills include beginning to learn about print awareness (that things which are written down have meaning), as well as developing phonemic awareness, which is the ability to notice and think about the individual sounds, or phonemes, that make up words. Reading books together with your child is just one way to develop and facilitate these skills. Here are a few more fun and easy ideas to incorporate literacy into your daily routine.

    • LABELS, LABELS, LABELS: Label everything with printed words! The refrigerator, table, cabinets, the bathroom mirror, etc… literally label everywhere and everything that you can think of. Labels help children to see that letters and words serve a purpose and are important to readers. Children can practice looking for letters in the words, reading the labels through an association with the items it’s on, and even begin to spell the words themselves.  Writing labels can be as simple as using flashcards and a black marker. Write the word for whatever you are labeling and stick the label on the actual item. For example, write “refrigerator” on a flashcard and put it on your fridge using a magnet. 
    • Nursery Rhymes & Songs: You may be thinking, “what do nursery rhymes and songs have to do with reading?” The answer is a lot! Rhyming helps children learn about words and sounds. Hearing rhymes and rhythm helps children to hear the sounds and syllables in words, which plays a significant role in learning to read. Rhymes and songs can easily be incorporated into your daily routines from mealtimes to bath time, in the car, on walks... the possibilities are endless. If you’re looking for more ways to incorporate rhyming into your children’s daily schedule, see our blog Preschool Literacy Games.
    • Play and have fun with letters and words: Make learning letters and their corresponding sounds fun and engaging for your child! Some simple ways to do this are:
          • Scavenger hunt with post-it notes: Choose a letter and focus on the sound it makes. Using a stack of post-it notes (or even plain paper and tape), write the letter on each piece of paper and stick it around the house. Every time your child finds one, she can say the sound that it makes.
          • Letter and word hunts in books: Focusing on a specific letter? Read books with your child and have them find the letter in the text. For example, if focusing on the letter A, have your child point to all the letter A’s they can find on the page. This can be done with words too!