What if my child doesn’t know his ABCs?

At this time of year, we know that parents may be wondering, “Is my child ready for school?” coupled with potential doubts about their child’s abilities – “She only knows a few letters of the alphabet.”. If that is you, read on!

Firstly, we need to put it out there reading is not a natural process. It is a taught skill and in contrast to learning to talk, which is a wonderful development that happens (for the most part) naturally.

Nearly four decades of scientific research on how children learn to read supports an emphasis on phoneme awareness and phonics in a literature-rich environment. These findings challenge the belief that children learn to read naturally. (Lyon, G.R., 1998).

What is a literature-rich environment?

Having books read to them and having access to looking at books themselves is a good starting point however a literacy-rich environment demonstrates how literacy is useful in everyday life by allowing children to interact with print/texts independently and with parents/educators. This helps children understand WHY they need print, WHAT they use it for and HOW it is useful in everyday life. In other words, it needs to fun, engaging and meaningful to them.

What are some examples of print in everyday life?

  • Your child’s name!
  • Common shop names (e.g. McDonalds, Woolworths)
  • Street signs (e.g. SLOW)
  • Symbols (e.g. arrow, cross)

What do I do after I find this print?

Point it out and be excited when you discover it!
“Oh, look at this letter S on the SLOW sign. It’s just like the S at the start of your name, Sam.”

Talk about symbols and what they mean.
“A symbol is something you can read but it doesn’t have any words. See this arrow – I know that the way it is pointing is the way I need to go.”

Use the terminology
“Ah yes, that is the letter ‘M’ and underneath it is the word ‘McDonald’s”

If you’d like to read more about print awareness, check out more posts here on our blog or our Instagram.

Our play activities incorporate print is lots of ways – see all the themes and membership options available here, or see the activities in action here, here and here!

There will be more posts coming about phonemic awareness – another very important foundational skill that supports learning to read.

Thanks for hearing our call,
Your Little Birdies

Lyon, G. Reid. (1998). Educational Leadership, v55 n6 p14-18.

Unboxing Be Brave – Part 2

Let’s explore the second half of our Be Brave box. If you missed the first unboxing blog post, you can check it out here. Our newest Be Brave box uses picture books with courageous characters and activities, to enrich your child’s speaking, listening and early literacy skills. Keep reading to find out more about each activity we have in the box (spoiler alert!)

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Unboxing Be Brave – Part 1

Every child admires heroes, whether they are the princess who can do no wrong in every Disney movie or the Marvel superheroes that many little boys love pretending to be. Our Be Brave box is the best way to build on your child’s courage and resilience while giving them a boost with their language and literacy skills. Keep reading to find out more about each activity we have in the box (spoiler alert!) Continue reading “Unboxing Be Brave – Part 1”

Tips for helping your beginning reader

Many four year olds start to show an interest in reading. Once they have figured out that the little squiggles on the page mean something (i.e. having print awareness), their curiosity grows and they may tell you “I want to read”.  Then what? You may want to start whipping out sight word flashcards or sign your children up to reading apps like ‘Reading Eggs’. But here are three things any parent can do that will boost their child’s readiness for reading and set them up for literacy success in years to come. All three tips are based what research tells us are the foundational skills in reading, demonstrated by the Reading Rope (Stanovich, 1982).

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Unboxing Puppy Play – Part 1

Every child is fascinated by dogs – they are cute to look at and fun to play with, even if you don’t have your own! Our newest Puppy Play box is the best way to build on your child’s interest in dogs while giving them a boost with their language and literacy skills. Keeping reading to find out more about each activity we have in the box (spoiler alert!)

Continue reading “Unboxing Puppy Play – Part 1”

Make an imprint with PrintPLAY

Children begin their journey into the world of literacy long before they step foot through the school gates and return home with their first “reader”. In fact, it is you, the parent, that is your child’s first teacher of reading. This does not mean becoming a Drill Sergeant and enforcing your 4 year old to write out lines or “drop and give you twenty” if they ‘read’ (sorry memorise) a flashcard incorrectly. But seriously, what does it mean to teach reading to a pre-school child?

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