Shana Labatch reads to her daughter Danika Labach-Free.

Free early literacy kits for parents

Early literacy is helping your child get ready for formal reading instruction.

If you have been following these Literacy articles in the Caledonia Courier over the years you will be aware that improving ones Essential Skills, leads to stronger performances at school, more success at work, better health outcomes, and healthier relationships with others.

Given these and other benefits it makes sense that we should be trying to instill our children with literacy skills sooner rather than later.

Early literacy is helping your child get ready for formal reading instruction.

When children have learned early literacy skills before they enter kindergarten, they are at a distinct advantage when learning to read.

Since parents and caregivers are a child’s first teacher and primary role model, you can begin developing these skills right from birth!

Child development experts have identified five simple activities that can help get your child ready to read:

Talking – Children learn language by listening.  They learn new words and learn about the world around them.  Talking to your child also helps them develop their vocabulary.

Tip – Grow your child’s vocabulary by repeating what they say and adding new words.  “You want a banana? That’s a healthy choice.”

Singing – Singing slows down language and helps children hear the different sounds that make up words.  It also develops an awareness of rhythm and syllables.

Tip – Sing the alphabet song to learn sounds and letters.

Reading – Reading to and with your child will help them learn how a book works and what print looks like.  Children who enjoy being read to are more likely to enjoy reading by themselves.

Tip – Pick up a free Literacy Kit from the Learning Hub for children’s books and a program of activities which will help you get your little one off on the right foot in school and in life.

Writing – Reading and writing go hand in hand.  Children can learn pre-reading skills by practicing drawing and scribbling.  Writing also helps develop fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.

Tip – Our Literacy Kits come with crayons and colouring pages.

Playing – Play helps children think symbolically about real objects and experiences.  It also helps them use spoken and written words to communicate about real life.

Tip – Encourage dramatic play to foster narrative skills.

Each Literacy Kit comes with a parent information sheet and introductions explaining the value of early literacy and how to use the package.

The kit has 2 children’s books, a dictionary, a suggested list of daily activities you can do with your child indoors and outside, a step-by-step program on how to introduce your child to reading using books from the Fort St. James Library, a journal, a pencil, crayons, colouring paper, a bookmark, fun stickers for your child and support from the staff at the Learning Hub.

For more information call Alex or Shana at 996-7078, or drop by the Learning Hub at five corners.

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