How To Build Early Literacy Skills With Books

What happens when tots sit down with a book? Do they turn the pages with fascination, or get distracted too easily? It may be too early to predict the learning outcomes accurately before the age of 3. However, it doesn’t mean we don’t include reading as a part of child development. How to build early literacy with books? – By making sure kids are engaged and enjoying themselves.

  1. Sing, don’t read books.
  2. Add a ‘wow’ element for wonder.
  3. Ask questions.
  4. Make stories.

Read on to know more…

Student counsellors & language experts believe—

Research says introducing children to books triggers their brain functioning and makes them more receptive to learning.

However, reading to kids isn’t a fairy tale. Some children may sit at a spot and listen intently, but many of them fuss, squirm or try to reach out for the book in our hands. Dr. Betty Ann Watson (Director of early childhood education at Arkansan’s Harding University) believes, with a little patience and practice, we can help babies settle down to read. Here are some tested-and-tried parenting tips.

Early Development Of Literacy: How To Engage Children With Books

Singing pictures & words

Singing words and photos in a dramatic tone make stories more appealing. When kids hear a sound repeatedly, after some time, they can relate sounds to pictures and alphabets. Once they’re old enough to comprehend photos, asking kids to ‘read’ images will spark their interest in picture composition.

Inviting children to wonder

Letting children control their pace of reading is one of the crucial steps in English language teaching, or any other language, for that matter. Babies linger on a page to look at photos.

Toddlers love to mimic funny-sounding words & scribble. 3-year-olds are mostly interested in turning pages. Pre-schoolers switch from one book to another, looking for interesting stuff. That’s okay! We can create a meaningful reading experience by letting kids explore books at their pace.

Asking Questions

Pointing out at random objects around, and relating them to the images in a book shows kids that those objects exist in real life. (E.g., “See that pink bottle? Don’t you have a similar bottle, but a red one?”)

Modelling questions, ideas, and statements make children wonder about what they’ve heard or read. It encourages them to think more, demand answers, ask questions, and relate their ideas to the world.


Once the child starts to develop clear speech and vocabulary, we could assess their learning pace by creating stories together. Holding kids on our lap, talking to them and sharing a story, gives them a sense of emotional security. Giving cues and asking them to make new stories on their own, develops creativity & self confidence. It also allows us to take them through the events of the day to reflect. Discover why storytelling is important for the growth of children in the twenty-first century.

Why Is Early Literacy Important?

Early development lays the foundation for reading, writing, comprehension skills, and cognitive learning for the later years. Pre-literacy skills initiate in early childhood starting from the 16th month. With practice, kids improve on their vocabulary, oral language, and writing skills every day, based on their interaction with different literacy materials (papers, books, crayons, etc.), and everyday conversations.

Understanding the importance of early childhood development helps us in moulding a child’s interactions.

When we accept cognitive learning, as a dynamic, ever-going process then we’re able to understand the meaning behind children’s actions—how they sing poems, listen to stories, scribble words, or handle books. We can make these experiences more meaningful and interesting to improve their literacy skills.

We, at The Infinity School, run a free 3-month-long library membership programme for kids to encourage the habit of reading since an early age. Follow the link to read more about it.

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