Literacy is the ability to read and write. Among younger children, it starts from building reading skills, then moves onto writing later. But literacy is more than just that. It’s the foundation upon which our children learn and grow.
Research suggests that 90% of a child’s brain is developed by age five, before the age when most children start formal education. This means we need to help our children build their literacy skills early.
As a parent, as long as you are reading, speaking, singing to or playing with your young child, your child is learning!
Children can benefit from reading in many ways:
- Reading supports brain growth in children;
- Reading fosters critical thinking in children;
- Reading helps children fall in love with learning on their own;
- Talking about characters in books helps children build empathy and emotional resilience.
How do I choose good books for my child?
- Choose attractive books with pictures and bright colors for younger children;
- The Canadian Children’s Book Centre has great suggestions on how to choose books for babies and toddlers;
- Check out relevant resources provided by the Calgary Public Library, for example, their Family Storytime
I am a newcomer. Do I have to read to my child in English?
- No, it doesn’t matter what language you use. In fact, you are encourage to use your home language;
- As your child hears and learns English, the language areas of his/her brain that you have helped build at home will support the language learning process;
- Read more about it in When Children Speak More Than One Language.
What to read as my child gets older?
Calgary Reads has a one-page resource list for children of different ages, from 6 months to 8 years old, with explanations of how your child’s communication, social and emotional skills are developing with new books at different stages.
Immigrant Services Calgary offers programs for families with children between the ages of 0 to 6. These programs are designed to prepare children for kindergarten by helping them improve their English language and literacy skills: https://www.immigrantservicescalgary.ca/our-services/children-parents
In summary, building literacy skills in children is a great way to enhance their lives and help them achieve their full potential in school and throughout life.
Word of the Day:
Foster: to encourage, stimulate or promote