Tips to Boost Early Literacy at Home

by Patti Rommel

Patti Rommel is the Director of Research & Development at Lakeshore Learning Materials, which has been supporting early childhood education since 1954.

Educators worldwide agree: Reading to children for just 20 minutes a day can set them up for success in the classroom—and beyond. Get inspired to bring reading into your home with these ideas. They’re a great way to spend time with your child while boosting literacy skills!

1. Make Reading Fun and Interactive

Check out three to four storybooks from your library each week. You can involve your child or surprise your child…tell him or her that a book fairy will visit every night and leave a book for the next day!

Set aside a specific time each day to read. Talk about the story as you read, asking questions like, “What was your favorite part? What do you see?” Encourage your child to draw pictures about the stories. Add to the experience by setting up a tent or fort in your child’s room to create a special storytime spot! These activities help your child build a richer vocabulary, letter and word knowledge, and comprehension skills.

2. See and Match

Create an alphabet puzzle and put it together with your child. Talk about which letters make up his or her name, or pack the puzzle for a road trip and encourage your child to match the letters to corresponding letters on street signs. To keep little hands busy at the grocery store, give your child coupons and ask him or her to help you find the items with corresponding words. These activities help your child build confidence and learn to recognize letter shapes in real-world settings.

3. It’s Time to Rhyme!

Nursery rhymes help your child develop phonological awareness, self-confidence, enthusiasm for reading, and memorization skills…on top of being fun! Read them together, and then create additional rhyming words based upon what you’ve read. Create your own “rhyme-in-a-box” by gathering objects that rhyme (such as a rock and a sock, etc.) in a shoe box. Invite your child to draw things that rhyme and add them to the box.

4. Draw and Collage

Fill a shoe box or drawer with art materials. Invite your child to draw a picture of something he or she sees (for example, a bird in a tree). Write the words “bird” and “tree” on the drawing, and practice saying them together. Or let your child cut or tear pictures out of old magazines. Paste the pictures onto colorful paper and write the word of the picture underneath. Place them around your child’s room and invite him or her to practice reading, writing and drawing the pictures. These are great ways to build print awareness.

Lakeshore Learning Materials is dedicated to helping children reach developmental milestones and achieve educational goals—while still having fun! That’s why we’re proud to once again participate in this year’s Jumpstart’s Read for the Record®! On September 28, 2013, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., parents and children are invited to visit any of our 58 Lakeshore Learning Stores nationwide and enjoy hourly readings of Otis, plus fun crafts and activities in support of Jumpstart’s mission: to work toward the day every child in America enters kindergarten prepared to succeed. For details, visit

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