Research shows that developing strong early childhood literacy skills actually impact a child’s ability to succeed academically, graduate on time, and even enhance overall productivity as an adult. It makes sense, right?
All too often we overthink the ways we are teaching our earliest learners these important skills. It’s amazing what strides can happen just in taking a little extra time engaging children in conversations by asking them to describe different items or experiences or interacting with others in various situations.
It’s also easy to incorporate literacy skill development in other areas of play. Here are some of our favorites!
Go crazy in the sand box
Grab the sand and water table or head out to the dirt! With sticks, have children make the letters in the sand and have peers try to name the letter. You can also bring the shovels and buckets along and have the kids dig for letters! Ahead of time, bury the letters into the sand and let the games begin. What words can be made from the letters each child finds?
Pull out the props
Dramatic play also brings out the literacy learning opportunities! Pull out the costumes and have the children act out their favorite story book scenes. We even have incredible book prop sets where children can take turns telling the story with the characters and describing the scenes and characters in their own words.
Direct traffic in the cars and block center
Do you have a block center or car or train tracks? It’s time to direct traffic! Have the children create traffic signs or city signs with words and practice what they mean by using block play accessories or cars. Stop! Go! Big turn ahead! Up the hill! Turn Left! Gas! Last Chance for Food! Long Stretch Ahead. The opportunities are endless with this one.
Go on a letter hunt
Maria at @isateony created hunts for with each letter of the alphabet. Her kids had to go all over to find items that began with the letter of the week and brought them back to their manipulatives table. What a fun and easy hunt this is, and a great way to open conversations after the hunt is complete. What items are similar? Different? What colors, shapes and patterns can we find?
Some of the best games are simple ones that offer up many learning opportunities, including literacy skill development. Most any games can lend themselves to literacy if you think outside the box a bit. A few of our favorites include Find Monty! And the Feel and Find Sensory Box, that helps develop language, observation, matching, and spatial perception skills.
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