Building Early Literacy Through Play
Every Child Ready to Read
“Those things you learn without joy you will easily forget”
– old Finnish saying
Play is one of the best ways for children to learn language and literacy skills. Play helps children think symbolically: a ruler become a magic wand, today becomes a time when dinosaurs were alive, a playmate becomes an astronaut exploring space. Through play, children realize that one thing can stand for another. This also helps children understand that written words stand for real objects and experiences.
Pretend play helps children think symbolically and develop oral language skills. As children play store or pretend to be an animal, they talk about what they are doing. They practice putting thoughts into words.
Dramatic play helps develop narrative skills as children make up a story about what they are doing. This helps them understand that stories happen in order: first, next, last.
Make-believe also gives children a chance to act out real-life situations, work through worries and fears, and use their imagination to solve problems.
Play helps children feel a sense of accomplishment and self-confidence. This motivates them to try new experiences and not to give up when something seems hard.
The simpler the toy is, the more complex is the learning that takes place.
Blocks ♥ Paint ♥ Costumes ♥ Sand ♥ Playdough ♥ Puzzles ♥ Cooking
Creative and imaginative play with simple toys builds the skills which help babies get ready to read:
- Spatial relationships
- Size, shape, weight, balance, height, depth
- Counting, sorting
- Problem solving
- Hand-eye coordination
- Role playing
- Cultural expression
- Math & science concepts
- Social development
- Muscle development
- Self confidence
- Following directions