Literacy Skills

Literacy skills – How do I help my child read and write?

Learning to read and write is an important skill to learn in a young child’s life. Success with reading and writing not only makes school more enjoyable and increases rates of success at school, but reading books gives children (and adults) a wonderful opportunity to use their imagination, learn and explore new things.

The more that you read,
The more things you will know.
The more that you learn,
The more places you will go.

Dr Suess

Preliteracy skills includes a variety of skills a child [or adult] needs to be able to successfully read and spell with success. These skills include syllable counting, rhyming, sound recognition, linking sounds to letters, sound sequencing, reading.

How do children learn to read and write?

Children develop a number of literacy skills right from birth, so it is important to share books and start reading to your child as early as possible.

Early pre-literacy skills include:

  • Understanding a book has pictures and words and tells a story
  • Choosing books of interest. It is normal for children to choose the same books over and over, although I recommend having wide variety of books eg. Not just books about dinosaurs
  • Listening and attention to what is being said, the pictures in the book, and the whole shared reading experience
  • Talking about pictures or pointing to them to increase vocabulary and interest in books
  • Independently turning pages and understanding progressing from left to right through the book

Later preliteracy skills include:

  • Stringing words together also creates meaning
  • Understanding of narratives or the 'story'
  • Tracking words from left to right
  • Identifying each symbol (the written word) is a word with a meaning
  • Identifying similar words in books
  • Recognising their written name

Early literacy skills include:

  • Understanding that the words we say are made of different sounds
  • Understanding that the sounds we say can be written as letters
  • Understanding that letters strung together create words with meaning
  • Understanding that writing the sounds in different orders can create different written words
  • Understanding that words can be found in other words eg. Within = with + in
  • Being able to hear rhyming words
  • Being able to produce rhyming words
  • Counting syllables in words
  • Writing their name

When do I start working on pre-literacy skill?

Its' never too early to start reading and talking to babies. Children first become interested in books as babies, when they are read to. They are learning to read by watching and copying adults. Introducing books to babies also helps with understanding of language and provides a wonderful opportunity to interact with your child in a fun and stimulating way.

How can a Speech Pathologist help?

The speech pathologist will help to determine if there are any underlying speech or language difficulties that may be contributing to your child’s difficulty with reading and spelling. They can also assess and help work on the following preliteracy skills:

  • Identifying their written name, tracing it, copying it and later writing it independently
  • Syllable counting
  • Hearing rhyme
  • Producing rhyme
  • Understanding of the alphabet and 'letters'
  • Matching written letters to the spoken sound
  • Make up your own stories and your own story books

Once at school the speech pathologist can work alongside teachers, teaching aides and parents to help develop the following skills:

  • Sounding out words cat = c..a..t
  • Identifying start, middle and end sounds in words
  • Blending sounds together to make words eg. B..e…d = bed
  • Sounding out and writing clusters/blends eg star
  • Sound to letter link up and letter to sound link up
  • Writing sentences, paragraphs, short stories, writing down idea

Further Information

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