A Message from Abby Aloni, Head of Early Childhood: October 20
  • Academics
Abby Aloni, Head of Early Childhood
Dear Early Childhood Families,
As early childhood educators, we often talk about emerging or foundational literacy. Emergent literacy encompasses the knowledge, skills and attitudes that a child develops in relation to reading and writing throughout the early childhood period, starting at birth and before the onset of conventional reading and writing instruction that begins in kindergarten. 
This growth happens through authentic play as children engage in explorations at school and at home. Many parents ask us what they could be doing at home to encourage the development of these important skills. Here are a few suggestions:
  • Encourage your child to make a pattern with objects such as buttons, beads, small colored cubes or any other loose parts you may have around your house. By putting things in a certain order, children gain an understanding of sequence. This will help them discover that the letters in words must go in a certain order.
  • Have your child listen to a story, then talk with you about the plot, characters, what might happen next and what they liked about the book. During a read-aloud, children learn that books can introduce people, places and ideas and describe familiar experiences. Listening and talking help children build their vocabularies. Looking at a book as someone reads to them develops basic literacy concepts such as print is spoken word written down, print carries meaning, and we read English from left to right, from the top to the bottom of a page, and from the front to the back of a book.
  • Play a matching game such as concentration or picture bingo. Seeing that some things are exactly the same, leads children to the understanding that the letters in words must be written in the same order every time to carry meaning.
  • Recite rhyming poems to your child and work together to make up new rhymes. By doing so, children become aware of phonemes—the smallest units of sounds that make up words. This awareness leads to reading and writing success.
  • Have your child make signs as they engage in dramatic play. For example, creating a grocery store and labeling the items being sold. This allows children to practice using print to provide information.
  • Ask your child to retell a favorite story to you, a sibling, or a stuffed animal. This allows children to gain confidence in their ability to learn to read. They practice telling the story in the order it was read to them—from the beginning to the middle to the end.
  • Encourage your child to use invented spelling to write a grocery list or chore list at the same time you are writing your own list. By watching an adult write, children are introduced to the conventions of writing and the notion that writing is used to share information.
I hope these suggestions allow you to not only feel confident that you are taking appropriate steps in supporting your child's literacy development but that they also afford you the opportunity to engage in meaningful play as you continue to build your special bond with your child!
With warm regards and great appreciation for your partnership,
Abby Aloni
Head of Early Childhood



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