Twenty-four hours in a day! We all have the same amount of time, and we are pretty good at filling our days. How about an average three-year-old?
Most three-year-olds eat, sleep and do a whole lot of playing. This is good! Playing is developmentally appropriate and much can be learned through that play. However, spending just a little time each day focusing on a child’s academic development is also very important.
When I first started concentrating on literacy in my home daycare, I wondered how I could manage everything. Now literacy is a priority every day! Of course we do other things as well like sing, play with play-doh, build, play outside, paint and have a whole lot of free play. However, doing a little bit of literacy each day (maybe five to fifteen minutes) really makes a difference with the children I care for, and it will really make a difference in your home with your child’s literacy development. Whether it be visiting the library, reading books to your child, writing together or listening to your child read to you, you can ease literacy into a part of your day every day.
Frequently the children in my daycare will ask to do literacy activities soon after arriving. It is in their best interests, if I can be flexible with my agenda to honor their requests and provide the literacy activities they are asking for. Likewise it is important for you to be flexible with your agenda at your home to support the desires and interests of your child(ren) when literacy requests are made.
There is an art to balancing what you as an adult want to accomplish with your child’s academic agenda. With the expectation of doing a little literacy each day, you as the adult will often need to prompt the opportunity.
Here are some examples of things you can say to your child that may help you to transition to a literacy activity. Providing experiences in natural and inviting ways will be more positive than abruptly telling a child it is time to stop his/her favorite playtime activity to do whatever you have in mind. Providing choice in the activity will also be helpful.
- Would you like to do your letters now or in five minutes?
- After you read, we will go outside.
- Would you like to read the books in your bag or new books?
- Do you want to read to Mom? or Dad?
- What should we write about?
- Would you like to make a sticker story or write about your day?
- Do you want to read or brush your teeth first?
There is also no right or wrong way to find time for literacy in your learning environment. The important part is that you prioritize it and make sure literacy activities happen every day. Please visit again next month as several families will be featured as they share how literacy is a priority in their homes.