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Children begin to develop the skills they need to become confident with language from a very young age. Early literacy skills include looking at books, following a story, making marks, recognising printed writing and singing or saying rhymes.
Read aloud to your child from an early age. This is the best way to help develop children's vocabulary and teach children to recognise written words.
Parents who foster a love of reading early on give their child the best foundation to build strong literacy skills.
Literacy skills are crucial throughout your child’s school years from early education through to secondary education and in to adulthood.
Many little things light up hungry little minds. Kids take everything in,and even the smallest things you do with them can make a big difference.
They love it when you chat, play and read with them, even when they’re
too young to understand everything. Whatever the time and wherever you
are, you can turn almost anything into a game.
And every little thing you do together will help set them up nicely for the day they start school.
Hungry Little Minds has lots of activities and resources to help parents.
Watch BBC Tiny Happy People video.
Sharing stories is a great way to help expand your child's language. Talk about what you can see, ask questions and see if your child can retell the story to you.
Telling stories with young children is an important building block of developing talking, reading and writing.
We know that it is important that children grow up sharing and learning to read books, but children also need to experience the joy of listening to stories without books. This is something parents and carers can do wherever they are and whenever they have a few minutes!
Babies and Young Children Love Stories
Children enjoy cuddling together and the sound of your voice.
Tell stories at any time - in the bath, the garden, the car, on the bus, at mealtimes or bedtime.
Children can enjoy stories about things that happen in the family try including the names of family members, pets, your street name.
To make your stories more personal tell stories in all the languages that your family uses at home. All languages are important in your child’s development.
Children like to hear stories again and again.
Having favourite stories that they hear over and over builds their confidence to tell stories themselves and helps them me better readers as they get older.
Everyone can tell stories
Be playful! There are no ‘wrongs and rights’ – just make up your story or tell versions of
Try out different voices for the characters in the story.
Ask your child who they want to be in the story, or what will happen, this helps children become part of the story telling and keeps them involved.
Repeat phrases or sounds – this helps children enjoy repeating sounds, words and phrases as they play with language.
Encourage children to make up their own sounds and words as they join in the telling.
Try making up a story about a favourite toy, a family event, going shopping, a pet.
The more stories children hear - the more they learn
When you tell stories to your child, you are helping them to learn how stories work.
Storytelling helps children to understand that a story has a beginning and an end.
As children learn and repeat parts of the story themselves, they too are becoming story tellers.
Children can enjoy talking about what happens next in a story, this develops their language.
Simple finger puppets or objects can be useful for children to act out a story.
Create opportunities for telling stories whenever and wherever they have time.
Show recognition of what their children know and can do are they join in the story listening and telling.
Share spontaneous and planned interactions with their children around telling stories.
Be good models of story tellers – making up stories, telling traditional tales from many
cultures, using character voices, playing with words and sounds – to make storytelling fun.
Everyone loves a good story
Some parents say they don’t feel confident telling stories without a book.
Make a start, you’ll become more confident and you’ll find it’s something pleasurable to share with your child, which doesn’t cost anything at all.
Stories are a really important part of children’s early learning, but above all, sharing the telling of a story can be a lovely way to spend time relaxing and having fun together!
A series of films made for the Economic and Social Research Council 2021 Festival of Social Sciences looking at storytelling techniques, the role of stories in young children's cultural identity, and how storytelling can be used to support young children's learning.
Book Trust free online books, videos and other resources for parents to use to make storytimes fun and interesting.
Television and digital devices
There are lots of ways to help your child to learn such as reading together and make believe play. You can use what they have watched on TV or the internet to help their learning .
Talk with them about what they are watching on TV.
Use their favourite television characters in other games and activities
Digital devices such as a laptop, desktop, tablet or smartphone can help some children learn.
Apps and Online Resources
Download some apps that will help children learn if your child does use them.
Set age appropriate parental controls on any devices young children are using and supervise their use of websites and apps. Seek advice on being safe on line
Try sharing things your child makes with your friends and family online and encourage others to do the same. Your child might enjoy seeing things they have made on the
screen or seeing what other children have done.
Talk to your child as you are doing everyday things
Sing and say rhymes
Use funny voices as you look through picture books
Make up stories about favourite teddies
Play games with numbers and letters
Help them use writing and drawing materials
Encourage your child to make marks and shapes in sand or playdough
Parents and children chatting together, singing songs and sharing books in their home language is a fantastic way to support children's development at this time.
The National Literacy Trust Time Together booklet is a colourful and easy-to-read guide that is full of suggestions for how parents can support their young child's learning at home. It has been translated into thirteen different languages and is available for parents and professionals to download
Download the appropriate translated booklet
email firstname.lastname@example.org for further help with literacy
useful resources for parents and professionals to develop literacy
fun and easy tips to use with your baby
lots of activities and play ideas to boost communication skills
lots of story time ideas
has lots of activities and ideas to help your child develop literacy and communication skills. Help your child become a confident talker and learner and get loads of inspiration for fun things to do with your child.
has lots of activities,free resources,parent support and the virtual school library
Communication resources for parents