If you have been to any of our many story times, you’ve probably heard us belt out the “Talk, Sing, Read, Write, Play” song. You’ve also probably received a few early literacy tips and a fun star-shaped handout as a reminder. So why do we focus so much on talking, singing, reading, writing, and playing? Because these tools for early literacy have been shown to be the most important activities parents and caregivers can do with their children to help them learn, grow, and develop.
Very young children aren’t specifically being taught to read—they are getting ready to read. It is important that a distinction is made between the two learning processes. The process of learning to read begins at birth as children are exposed to language and sounds. Forming relationships and learning to love books as they grow will help them understand that reading and writing have power in their lives. They will be so excited to have and use this power if they have had positive early literacy experiences. Reading will come naturally to them.
During the few short years of early childhood before entering school, kids need to play, explore, and engage in conversation with caregivers. “Talk, sing, read, write, play” is an easy mantra to remember and is simple to incorporate in just minutes throughout the day. Caregivers can make it a fun and enjoyable experience to learn. And if you need some good books that facilitate both reading and playing, check out this list of my favorite interactive picture books to share with your children.
Don’t forget that the children’s department also teaches an Early Literacy Class for parents and their 2-3 year olds that is held on Monday mornings at 9:30AM in the story room. This 30 minute class provides hands-on learning and ideas to help you incorporate talking, singing, reading, writing, and playing into a child’s daily experiences. Be sure to check out the website to register the week before class!