By Elizabeth Fraley, M.Ed.
Here are eight excellent strategies proven to motivate your early learner. These strategies can be implemented at home.
TIP 1: Evaluate which part of your home you would like designate as your “literacy center” and supply this area with developmentally appropriate materials and books your child can access independently at their leisure or with your adult guidance.
TIP 2: It is suggested that the home literacy environment be “print rich” in order to foster a connection to literacy (Bardige & Segal, 2005). It is highly encouraged to label key areas in the home to help your child gain exposure to word recognition. Areas and objects in the home can be labeled to encourage conversations about letters and words. Consider labeling objects your child uses on a daily basis such as a chair or toy.
TIP 3: When creating a home literacy environment, it is highly encouraged to ensure that the area is clearly organized to avoid an over stimulating learning area (Bardige & Segal, 2005). It may be helpful to use containers to categorize literacy materials according to their purpose, such as placing children’s books in one container, and magnetic letters in another container, and so forth.
TIP 4: It is paramount to provide a variety of interchangeable writing materials like markers, highlighters, pens, and pencils to help you child maintain and develop their fine motor control. Mini journals are a great way for children to explore environmental print around the home by writing the words they see or even by drawing pictures! An enjoyable activity for families to enjoy is “read the room”. Use a clipboard to explore different words seen around the home. Discuss the letters, sounds, and pictures seen! This activity is a great way to encourage kinesthetic based learning and makes learning fun!
TIP 5 Contextually based activities can also be easily integrated into your home literacy environment. You and your child could write a grocery list together to facilitate letter knowledge, improve fine motor skills, all while enhancing vocabulary development
TIP 6 There are a wealth of resources out there for parents on helping your child remain motivated in learning. One of my favorites is, Building Literacy With Love: A Guide For Teachers and Caregivers From Birth Through Age 5 by Bettie S. Bardige.
TIP 7: Not only is reading and writing important, oral language is also an important component of early literacy development. Children enjoy dictating information for an adult to write after they have drawn a picture or completed a learning activity. This is know as Language Experience Approach or (LEA) and will help your child develop their communicative skills and visualize print concepts (Tomkins, 2011).
TIP 8: Monkey See, Monkey Do! Model reading for pleasure to your children, this will help them see that learning and literacy is a part of our everyday lives. Strive to model to your child that we are lifelong learners!
Elizabeth Fraley, M.Ed. is the Director of KinderPrep at Academic Achievers.