Headstart For Literacy

Get a head start on literacy for your preschool kids

With Early Start Speech Pathology’s School Readiness Program in full swing, we’d like to share one of the areas that we will be focussing on to help get our little owls prepared for school and what you can do at home.

Learning to read is a long process and doesn’t just start when your children go to Kindergarten. There are reasons why books rhyme (e.g. The Cat in the Hat) and characters have names starting with same sounds (e.g Peppa Pig) and it’s to do with phonological awareness. Phonological awareness skills really help later reading and spelling which is why we like to work on them – think of it as giving your child a head start! They involve your child becoming more aware of sounds, hearing and recognising patterns in words and then applying these skills to when it is actually time to start reading and spelling.

Here are easy activities to start incorporating into your day-to-day routines:

RHYME: Rhymes are fun, they can be silly and make us laugh! Songs and books at the library are a great source for rhyming activities. We want your child to not only understand if something rhymes, but tell us another word that rhymes.

  • Borrow books out at the library and find all the rhyming word. Dr Seuss is a great place to start or ask your Early Start Speech Pathologist for their favourites!
  • Play rhyming games where you say a word and the next person thinks of a word that rhymes (e.g. Hot-pot, fat-cat, big-pig).

SYLLABLES: Recognising ‘beats’ or the number of syllables in a word can be really entertaining. It is a great way to support your child if they have some speech errors because a series of short syllables (hos-pi-tal) is easier to say broken up.

  • While you are shopping, in the supermarket or eating food, tap out the beats to the words by asking “How many beats can you hear in Vegemite?”

FIRST SOUNDS: It is really important to talk about sounds and not just letters as our children learn to read by pushing sounds together to form a word.

  • Playing ‘I Spy’ is the perfect way to work on first sounds “I Spy with my little eye something beginning with ‘d’”.
  • Playing a sound treasure hunt when you are out and about is another entertaining way. You can have a sound of the day (such as ‘d’) and try to find as many things starting with that sound.

If you want some more tips and fun ways to get a head start on your child’s literacy, ask your Early Start Speech Pathologist and we can help tailor activities to your family’s interests and routines.

*Early Start School Readiness Group is run by a Speech Pathologist and Occupational Therapist. For more information about the program please contact Early Start Speech Pathology on 4955 5415.