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How to Support My Child in Reading and Writing

What is literacy?

Literacy is the combination of two intimately related processes: reading and writing. Reading and writing are complex skills that children encounter from early education, and these skills accompany them throughout their lives.

Reading relies on the brain's ability to connect and integrate various sources of information, specifically visual with auditory, linguistic, and conceptual areas. Therefore, stimulating these sources is crucial for the gradual and improved development of students for more complex processes like literacy. The faster and more efficient the pathways become in understanding symbols that later enable comprehension of written words, the more fluent and secure a child's ability to read and write.

There is a classification based on a child's literacy development:

  • Pre-syllabic stage Uses different graphics to represent different meanings:

Recognizes their name or familiar words. Understands concepts like the directionality of writing, that letter symbols have meanings. Does not have a clear correspondence between letters and sounds yet, often does not differentiate between letters and numbers

  • Syllabic stage Writes one letter for each syllable:

Begins to recognize syllables, rhymes, and distinguish sounds. Recognizes and reproduces letters. Guesses words by identifying the first sound and context/image. Cannot decode (read sound by sound) a word

  • Alphabetic syllabic stage Recognizes letters and their sounds:

Starts to read simple words. Starts to write, connecting language sounds with letters. Writes one letter for each sound heard. In this stage, it is normal to see flipped letters and missing letters

  • Alphabetic stage Reads and writes simple words:

Begins to recognize words intentionally. Spelling may improve but remains imperfect

Some tips for parents to help introduce your child to reading could be:

Connect with them:

Tell your child stories about when you were young, and validate their feelings about reading and writing. Empathize with the difficulty and model how to react to an error. Share secrets about how to read and remember spelling when doing tasks together.

Play with them:

Play strengthens language and vocabulary through interaction. Imagination develops storytelling skills. It's important to strengthen their hands, gross and fine motor coordination (using playdough, for example).

Play enhances their autonomy, self-control, and overall well-being, reduces their stress and anxiety levels, and allows for better interaction with others.

Read books and play with words: Reading to your child is one of the most important activities!

Develops an extensive vocabulary, strengthens the emotional connection with reading. It's good to let your child participate in daily reading and writing activities (sending messages, making shopping lists, reading recipes and street signs, family labels, etc.).

What not to do:

  • Use screens instead of personal interaction. Your child's language development is crucial and essential for their success in literacy.

  • Demand correct writing; it's not the focus in preschool.

  • Acknowledge your child's achievement when they write something and show them where they understood how to follow the writing "code."

  • Keep books out of their reach and sight. It's important that the child can always pick up a book on their own, whether to explore or read it.

  • Correct or say the words they start to read. Be patient and let them finish each word, regardless of how long it takes; eventually, you can guide them to read the word correctly through reflection.


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