October 20, 2015

Let’s accelerate preschoolers’ literacy skills with this one simple tip

I recently read a fantastic article, written by an American Speech-Language Pathologist Laura Justice and her colleagues in 2009. It outlines the effectiveness of a simple strategy that can be used at home and in classrooms to accelerate preschoolers’ literacy skills.

I’m going to talk a little bit about what I learnt in this article, but i you want to read the article yourself, check it out here: Accelerate preschoolers’ literacy skills with this one simple tip.

Justice et al (2009) comment that “literacy development, literacy instruction, and literacy failure are complex, multidimensional constructs.” (Justice, p.2). A quick look at my developmental expectation charts for literacy will show you just how much children are expected to learn about literacy in very short spaces of time.

In relation to this article, it is important that children develop their knowledge of print (letters and words on paper), alphabet knowledge and ability to write their name, ant the study from this article indicates that the strategies outlined below results in improvement in these skills more so than when these strategies are not used. It needs to be noted that this study involved teachers in a classroom environment with 106 children.

So the strategy is easy and it is implemented whilst you read books to your kids (whether teachers or parents). So seeing as you are probably reading to them everyday anyway, this one is so simple to add to your day, and it shown in the research to accelerate preschoolers’ literacy skills. The strategy is called reading with a print referencing style, and what that means is that you draw your kids’ attention to the print in the book. So there are a few different ways that this might look:

  • Ask questions about the letters or words on the page e.g. “Can you find the letter P on this page?”
  • Comment about the print on the page e.g. “Wow this long word says stegosaurus!”
  • Track your finger along the text while you read to let your kids know that the words relate to what you are saying.


Sounds simple huh? It is! Let me know how you go making this small change to reading books with your kids.

Want to learn more? I love reading books to kids soooo much that I want to share with you all my tips and strategies for reading books to kids, so I have created a FREE video series to do just that. This video series is perfect for mums, dads, grandparents, teachers, education assistants, and anyone who is reading books to kids every day!

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