How Children Learn to Read and Write
Literacy is the ability to read and write. We begin to learn how to read and write as soon as we are born. This beginning process is called emergent literacy. It develops as our language skills improve. These language and communication skills include listening, speaking, and writing.
We learn to read as a part of the process of emergent literacy. As babies, we learn that if we cry or make sounds, the adults around us will react. As we grow, we develop the need to communicate with language. By age two, we can identify signs and labels in our homes, stores, and communities.
How can we help preschoolers (ages 2.9 to 5 years) learn to read? It is important that we give children time to explore books. If they can look at books by themselves, children will begin to learn some of the skills that they need in order to begin to read.
We also need to give children a chance to express themselves on paper. In this way they can practice using things such as pens, pencils, and crayons. By practicing their writing, they will begin to understand how the written language works. For example, they will start to learn that letters mean something. Soon they will learn that we read and write from the left side of a page to the right and from the top to the bottom of a page.