Developing literacy at an early age is essential for enabling a number of early learning experiences that will impact a child’s adult life.
Research shows that early literacy is linked with emotional and social well-being, academic achievement and improved productivity later in life. During the preschool years, a child’s cognitive skills undergo major changes. His or her ability to use symbols and representational thoughts to stand for people, objects and events are becoming more complex. At this time, preschoolers also start to use logic to think about why and how things are happening in the world surrounding them. Therefore, it is important to engage a child’s thinking, and an excellent way to do so is through preschool literacy activities
In this blog post, we will take a look at some of the best preschool literacy activities to support cognitive development.
Read Quality Books
Storytime for preschoolers can be an effective tool to promote aspects of cognition. Choose to read books that teach the ideas of reasoning, problem solving, symbolic play and more. Encourage the natural curiosity of children by posing thought-provoking questions as you read books aloud. Ask children to relate to the story, having them recall times when they experienced the same scenarios, emotions or actions as the characters involved.
Conversations are a very natural experience that help children expand their vocabulary and phonemic awareness. Through conversations with educators and each other, preschoolers develop their ability to hear, identify and manipulate the individual sounds of spoken words. In conversation with children, reflect and talk about experiences you have had together in the classroom. For example, if you recently read a story together, revisit the experience by talking about it the following day. Encourage preschoolers to express their thoughts and memories about the story, asking lots of questions along the way.
Make a Variety of Literary Materials Available
Ensure your preschool offers ample opportunities for children to engage with printed materials. Keep age-appropriate books on hand that cover a wide range of topics, as well as magazines, newspapers and more so that children can discover on their own which written materials interest them most. Put words and posters on walls for children to read and observe. Exposing preschoolers to language throughout the child care environment provides plenty of opportunities for practice, and supports cognitive development.
Visit the Library
A visit to the library is an excellent preschool literacy activity to allow children to connect with literary materials and foster a love of reading. Encourage children to select books that interest them most, letting them browse through a variety of age-appropriate books without pressure. Children can “test-drive” several books before they discover one that appeals to them. Every time a child selects their own books, whether they be informative, silly, historical or fictional, they are learning more about how the world around them works.
For even more activity ideas that aren’t just literacy-related, see our post on preschool cognitive development activities.