Between ages 4 and 9, your child would have mastered some 100 phonic rules, learn to recognize 3,000 words at a glance, and develop a reading speed of around 100 words a minute. Reading and writing skills are not only important factors that lead to success in school, but they also contribute to later success in life. In addition, reading is a fun, lifelong activity that can open all kinds of new worlds to them. It’s never too early to introduce your child to reading. Young children who are read to regularly by family members experience multiple benefits including a boost in their literacy development, as well as social-emotional gains and increased likelihood of success in school. Start your child on the road to success and find out exactly why reading is so important.
Your child will develop literacy skills and an awareness of language long before they are able to read. Language development is fundamental in all areas of learning. Children who lack a strong foundation of language awareness and literacy skills early on are more likely to fall behind in school. Reading aloud to your children when they are in preschool will contribute to higher reading achievement in elementary school, as well as greater enthusiasm for reading and learning. Plus, they will have a larger vocabulary, higher levels of phonological, letter name, and sound awareness, and better success at decoding words. Higher numbers of words are an important indicator of later academic success. Vocabulary use at age three is a strong predictor of language skill and reading comprehension at age 9-10. Further, vocabulary use in first grade predicts more than 30% of 11th-grade reading comprehension.
How do reading and language skills develop?
During early childhood, children develop these five early reading skills.
- Phonemic awareness — the ability to hear, identify and play with individual sounds (phonemes) in spoken words
- Phonics — the ability to connect the letters of written language with the sounds of spoken language
- Vocabulary — words kids need to know to communicate effectively
- Reading comprehension — the ability to understand and get meaning from what has been read
- Fluency (oral reading) — ability to read text accurately and quickly
Children develop language from a process called emerging literacy. This is the gradual, ongoing process of learning to understand and use language that begins at birth and continues through early childhood. During this period children first learn to use oral forms of language, and then explore written forms.
During infancy, parents will speak to their children. This casual, spontaneous activity is essential to the development of language. By speaking to your baby, they learn about conversation and how to communicate with other people. During early childhood, listening and speaking skills develop more as they communicate their needs and desires through sounds and gestures. This develops from babbling to themselves to saying their first words and adding new words. When surrounded by language, most children will be fluent speakers by age three without conscious effort. This is because babies are born with the innate ability to distinguish the differences in the sounds used to form words. Their babbles may include more sounds than those used in their native language. By 6-10 months, babies begin to ignore the sounds not used in their home language and focus on the sounds made by those who talk to them more often.
During the first year, these sounds are distinct and meaningless words. However, by age 1, most children begin to link them to meaning. Children begin to understand the names used to label familiar objects, body parts, animals and people. They classify them in three ways as either the whole object, not parts or qualities (Flopsy is a toy, not its head or color), by referring to classes of things (Doggie is all four-legged animals) or by anything that has one name (Daddy is daddy, not a man or Jake).
Reading and Writing
While your children are gaining listening and speaking skills, they are also learning about reading and writing. Language skills are avenues for cognitive development because they allow children to talk about their experiences and discoveries. While they play, sorting, matching, classifying, and sequencing activities contribute to emerging literacy skills. Words to describe concepts, like up or down, let them talk about past and future events. As language skills grow, young children, tell stories, identify printed words, write their names, and incorporate writing in their plat. After listening to stories, they discuss the events in the book, and compare them to their own experiences. Reading and writing skills develop together as children learn about writing by seeing how the print in their homes, classrooms, and communities provides information. They also learn from watching adults write and from doing their own writing.
Little Angels Child Care Center views each child as an individual, developing at his/her own pace and with unique learning styles and interests. We are a play-based program, we believe children are active learners gaining knowledge about their world through hands-on experiences and social interaction with peers and adults. Activities are planned according to each child’s interests, abilities, and developmental stage.
We believe children are competent, decision –making individuals, who need time and space to grow and learn and to just be themselves. Our program is child-centered, emphasizing cognitive as well as physical, social and emotional development.