Since the temps here warmed up to (almost!) 50 degrees today, the toddler, her dolls, and I donned our jackets and headed outside for some much-needed fresh air.
My child? She’s a talker. Moreover, in the last month or so, she’s become a talker that OTHER people can understand. For over an hour, we walked around the neighborhood and she chattered away about the airplanes, the melting snow, which direction she wanted to go, the leaf that had fallen in her path, what she was going to eat for lunch, and her doll’s need for a clean diaper (maybe I should add here that she’s also imaginative).
That’s great, but what does all this have to do with reading?
Those in the field will tell you that being able to pronounce words on a page is just a teeny tiny part of reading. Literacy has 5 basic components. They are, in a nutshell:
- Phonemic awareness (letter sounds)
- Phonics (combining sounds to create other sounds, then words)
- Vocabulary development (discovering new words, then combining words to make sentences)
- Comprehension (combining sentences to form thoughts and understanding an author’s intent)
- Fluency (reading at a smooth, even pace, so that the reading becomes more natural, and less of a conscious effort)
No wonder literacy is so fundamental to a child’s learning!
The good news is, you’re already teaching your child the foundations of literacy. From the moment they are born, children begin to listen to their parents’ voices. Within a few months, they are mimicking sounds, and even testing out those sounds for themselves (that’s the start of phonemic awareness!) Pretty soon, they are putting those sounds together into babbles that will become their first words (there’s the beginning of phonics…). By toddlerhood, if your child is anything like mine, he/she is talking 24/7 and has picked up the early foundations of literacy. And it all came from you!
You are “reading” with your child every time you interact with them. When you go for neighborhood walks and have to identify every single item along the way… you’re practicing literacy.
When you sing songs and play games…you’re practicing literacy.
Even when you are discipling your child and explaining, for the millionth time that day, why they CANNOT pull on that cord…you’re practicing literacy.
See? I told you that you didn’t need any fancy kits. Give yourself a pat on the back, then go buy yourself a latte with the money you saved on that kit.
You can afford it.
And it’ll help get you through another conversation about trees, dogs, snow, airplanes, trucks, sidewalks, leaves…and the doll’s dirty diaper.