Encouraging Literacy

Cereal box writing2

Words are critical to communication, whether they are spoken, written, or read. With the beginning of the school year, parents and teachers are often wondering about and sometimes worried about children learning to read and write. In the next few blog posts I will share some super simple ways to encourage literacy in your homes and classrooms.

First of all, kids need to make the connection between the written words and the value of them. In other words, they need to know that words are important to hear, that the messages hold clues to stories, directions, feelings, and fun!

Family chartOne way to demonstrate this is by asking children what they want to learn about a specific topic and writing down their answers. Remember to write their names by their words to illustrate that their individual thoughts and ideas matter! Children can also tape their written names or write their names next to their ideas. As they get older, they can write their own ideas on the list.  At this point, this list can be created as a group or be placed on a clipboard that the children can add to as they have ideas during the day.

You can adapt this for home by having your child help make a grocery list. Look through the refrigerator and see what foods are missing. Even if your child does not know how to write yet, give him a pad of paper and crayons to “write” what you need or draw pictures of desired items (You can write your own list, too.). Take your lists with you and look for those items in the grocery store. Point out the words on cereal boxes, telling him what information the words tell you that the pictures can’t illustrate.

Karen small word



The idea of words themselves are very interesting for children to learn about. Write down and show them some super short words, such as I, a, and, and the.




Karen huge word


Then show them some really long words such as Mississippi or supercalifragilisticexpialidocious! Not only are they fun to say, but they are fun to hold in their arms. Let them physically play with different sized words that are written on cards or word strips.


Cereal box writing2

To expand on this activity, have a “Words We Like” area, where they can copy words from books, food labels, or with your guidance. Collect the words in a box until the end of the week, pulling them out and reading them in front of the group. Ask the “writer” to tape her important words on the wall for all to see. Challenge the group to fill the wall each week by filling up the word collection box.


I hope these ideas get you started.  I will add a few more ideas to encourage writing and reading next time!