Literacy in Early Childhood can take many forms. It is not all about reading and writing, although this seems to be what is focused on the most. Children build literacy skills throughout their life through interaction within their environments.
When you think of literacy in early childhood, what do you think of? Reading Writing? Before children begin to read and write, they firstly need to learn the building blocks of literacy before they move onto reading and writing. These building blocks include Music, movement, dance, storytelling, visual arts, speaking/talking, listening, drawing, watching and understanding for example.
With time and support, children will come to understand the connection between the letters on a page and the written word. Some ways children build upon literacy through everyday experiences and play are:
Story Books – Children use the pictures in books from an early age to begin with to engage with a story and they use these to tell the story. Printed media like this allows children to make the connection between the written word and the pictures that are there.
Dramatic Play – When children engage in dramatic play they are are roleplaying and learning appropriate ways to talk and interact building on those building blocks for literacy. They have the opportunity to take on a variety of roles and practice language and interactions they see in everyday life experiences.
Art and Drawing – give children the opportunity to discuss and talk about the piece of work they have created, whether it be a story or something that they enjoy. Children may also create lists such as shopping lists which may not be recognisable writing but shows that they are beginning to understand the concept that written words have meaning.
These are just a few examples of literacy in the early years.