Does your child point to shapes or pictures in the book during storytime? That’s fantastic! Pointing to shapes or repetitive images (like a drawing of a tree that's on multiple pages throughout the book) is a great indicator that your child’s brain is gearing up to learn more about letter knowledge.
Letter knowledge is when your child understands that the same letter can look different (capital vs. lowercase letters), that letters have their own names (A, B, C, etc.) and that they represent sounds. Letter knowledge is an important part of early childhood literacy. Providing your child with a strong foundation in early literacy sets them up for lifelong success. Many children have the capability to start recognizing letters between the ages of 3 to 4.
Here are some easy ways to strengthen your child’s letter knowledge during storytime:
- Read alphabet books. As your child becomes more familiar with the book after many readings, start reading it in a different order. For instance, open it up to a random letter like “M”, then flip over to “B” and then to “Y”. This can help your child understand that letters hold their own individual meanings, instead of letters from A to Z that are always the same.
- Point to shapes in books as you read. This helps your child's brain learn to recognize shapes and understand that they hold meaning. This is an excellent way to prepare your child’s brain for transferring that understanding from shapes like circles and triangles to the shapes that letters make, like “O” and “A”.
- Point to two pictures of the same thing (like a tree or a character) and say how they are alike and how they are different. This helps prepare your child’s brain to understand that “G” and “g” are the same letter. After you have done this several times, point to two things (like a sunny sky on one page and a cloudy sky on another page) and ask your child how they are alike and how they are different. Encourage them and help them along as necessary.