Ways parents can support their child's development in literacy

May 2012
Literacy is based on a combination of skills including speaking and listening, reading and writing. These four strands of learning were identified as key to competency in literacy by Sir Jim Rose's Independent Review of the Primary Curriculum (March 2006) which is still quoted today by leading bodies such as the National Literacy Trust.

Here are just a few ways that parents can support their children's development in literacy as part of their everyday routine.

Speaking and listening
Talking with children on a regular basis about their school day or their interests will ensure that they get regular experience of speaking and listening.

Encouraging children to use their words, even if they are rudimentary, will help them gain confidence in communicating their ideas and help them begin to form sentences orally.

Children can also listen to language being spoken both directly from adults, and passively through music or films, and be asked questions to help build up their ability to process words and develop their overall comprehension. This also extends to any additional languages spoken within the home.

Children will enjoy having books read to them from an early age. Even if they are too young to join in with reading the words on the page, they can look at illustrations, turn pages and listen for changes in your intonation, helping them to separate speech from other sections of text. When children begin reading they can try the process of sounding out words independently and parents can support children in discussing different elements of the texts such as character and plot.

Children can begin working on the fine motor skills needed for writing even before they have reached Foundation stage. Using a paintbrush or crayons to form circles, lines and other shapes on a page will help ready children for using a pencil or pen to write with at a later stage. Encouraging children to use any objects or dress up items at home to act out their stories before writing them down, will also help them to internalise a story and add creativity to their extended piece of writing.