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Encourage Early Literacy in your Kids: Three Easy Tips

written by: Cheryl Gabbert • edited by: Elizabeth Wistrom • updated: 3/2/2012

Parents are a child's first teacher, and the preschool years are full of learning. A child's early literacy skills are greatly influenced by what a parent exposes a child to in the early years. Develop a love of reading and learning in your child at an early age with these tips.

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    Reading Books

    Reading books to your preschooler is probably the single best thing you can do to enhance early literacy. Fostering a love of reading goes a long way to ensure that your child will always have a strong interest in books. Children who love books as a young child are more likely to continue to read for pleasure throughout their lives. Also, read books and magazines around your child. Let your child see that you enjoy reading for pleasure. Children learn so much from what they see their parents doing, so don't underestimate the power of modeling the things you want your child to appreciate.

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    Poems, Rhymes, and Fingerplays

    Sharing nursery rhymes, poems, and finger plays are great ways to foster early literacy skills. The easy to remember, rhythmic verses of poems and rhymes will be requested over and over by your preschooler. You'll be amazed at how much a young child can pick up from a favorite rhyme. When purchasing children's books, make sure to buy a nursery rhyme book and a book of children's poetry. You'll be reading from these books for years to come.

    Finger plays are also great ways to further your child's early literacy skills. Finger plays are really just poems or songs that are set to motion. Think of "Itsy Bitsy Spider" or "Where is Thumbkin?" These classics are a great place to start. You can actually find plenty of books full of finger plays to share with your child. Why not pick a few favorites to share as a part of your bedtime ritual.

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    A Variety of Printed Materials

    Facilitate early literacy by keeping a variety of printed materials in your home. Let your child see you enjoying things that involve the printed word. For example, make sure your child sees you reading the newspaper, typing on the computer, writing lists for the store, or leaving a note for your spouse. Provide lots of writing materials for your child. Note pads, small composition notebooks, and colored paper should be available for your child to use. Encourage your child to "write" their own notes and store lists. In addition to a variety of papers, be sure to provide different writing materials. Colored pencils, markers, pencils, and crayons should be available to your child. Colored writing utensils are fun, and more interesting for a child than regular pens and pencils.

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    These are easy, yet ways to encourage early literacy in preschoolers. Do you have any further tips to share?

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