Literacy for children birth to five refers to the skills and abilities that are the forerunners of conventional reading and writing. Learning to read and write does not happen overnight. It is the result of many cumulative, interrelated experiences beginning at birth. Many different kinds of experiences are needed, but three are essential.
Children need purposeful conversation among adults and other children that supports their developing language; access to many different, high quality, developmentally appropriate books and other reading and writing materials; and opportunities to playfully explore and engage in literacy activities involving reading, writing, and learning letters and sounds. Young children learn from experience. From the earliest days of life, they get messages from their environment about what is important and what has meaning.
This is why all early childhood environments need to be rich in literacy enhancing materials and experiences.
Literacy-rich environments are literally full of opportunities for reading and writing, but they are not overwhelming or overstimulating. Print should be used for real purposes or functions, not as clutter.
For this reason, we are constantly accessing our environments for literary materials; things to help us not only practice our writing, but create and recognize language in print form. During our Feelings and Emotions week, we talked about the letter F, and engaged in an array of activities aimed at strengthening our understanding of this letter and its function.
One of these included a group activity, that included placing cardboard Fs into a larger F. The second involved using q-tips to place tiny dots inside block letter Fs.