Early Learning and Child Care Renfrew County

Early Literacy Information

Six Early Literacy Skills:

According to research there are Six Early Literacy Skills children need to get ready to learn to read.

Six Early Literacy Skills

Print Modivation Letter Knowledge Phonological Awareness Print Awareness Vocabulary Narrative Skills

Print Motivation
Is a child’s interest in and enjoyment of books.

Ways to encourage print motivation:

  • Choose the best - Choose books that you enjoy, the children enjoy and that are fun to read.
  • Read with Gusto - Read picture books using different voices and lots of expression.
  • Over and Over Again - Read stories over and over again as children learn something new with each read.
  • Let Them Talk - As you read, let the children add their comments. Reading aloud should be interactive.
  • Words, Words, Words - Explain the words in the story and books are a great source of new words.
  • Link to Think - Link what the children see in the pictures to things in their environment.
  • Join in for Reading - Encourage children to join in if you are reading a book that has a repeated line.
  • Stop – Stop reading if you realize children are losing interested or become distracted.
  • Words to See – As the children get older point to the words as you read them.
  • Let Me Read It! –When children listen to a story many times they will learn it well enough that they can read it.
  • Leave Them Wanting More – Read books you want to read to the children before you read them to the group.
  • Practice Makes Perfect –To have fun while reading you may need to practice reading it out loud before you read it to the group.


Is knowing the names of things, and understanding the meaning of words

There are four types of vocabulary; listening, speaking, reading and writing.

Strategies for teaching vocabulary:

  • Use conversational strategies.
  • Use rare and interesting words.
  • Use de-contextualized language.
  • Develop an emotions vocabulary.
  • Develop inner language.
  • Create settings for conversation and play.
  • Use books to develop vocabulary.

Print Awareness

Is noticing print, knowing how to handle a book, and how to follow written words on a page.

Children that have print awareness know that:

  • There is a front and back of a book.
  • The print in a book goes from left to right and top to bottom on the pages.
  • The print is linked to the story that is told in the book.
  • Print has different functions depending on where they see it, for example on a sign or in a book.
  • There are letters in words.
  • There are spaces between the words.

Letter Knowledge 

Is knowing letters have different names and specific sounds.

Young children benefit by learning about letters through:

  • Forming the letter shapes with manipulative objects such as play dough and paint.
  • Using toys such as magnetic and tactile letters.
  • Playing games like letter bingo or hop-scotch.

To lay the foundation for reading success by grade one, children need to recognize all the letters of the alphabet and how to produce them. As well and equally important, they need to:

  • Experiment with the sound structure of words.
  • Practice how to manipulate the sounds within words.
  • Learn how fictional stories work and that non-fiction is different.
  • Have a good and growing vocabulary.

Narrative Skills 

Is the ability to describe things, events and to tell stories.

Helpful strategies for comprehension are:

  • Rereading the text.
  • Summarizing what has been read.
  • Identifying the most important information in the text.
  • Predicting what will happen.

Ideas to help develop narrative skills in young children:

  • Use props as you tell or read a story. This helps the children remember it better.
  • Encourage the children to use props as they retell the story.
  • Ask some questions about the story.
  • Talk about the story after you have read it. Summarize the plot or main idea.
  • Talk about their day; what did they do first, second, third and so on.
  • Ask them to retell their favourite story.
  • Read developmentally appropriate, quality picture books to children often.

Phonological Awareness 

To hear and play with smaller sounds in words

Phonological awareness is the ability to hear word sounds, pronounce words and parts of words.

Providing activities that focus on

  • Listening to sounds and language,
  • Rhyming,
  • Making syllables,
  • Alliteration and
  • Fun

are critical to a good language and literacy program.