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Greenfield School

Developing a Love of Literacy

For International Literacy Day, Nursery Manager Julie Swords writes about how literacy is a huge part of school life and our love of books begins in infancy. 

Why is reading so important in early childhood?

Reading every day creates life-long readers and teaches children to find adventure, ideas, and answers through books.  Reading with children strengthens relationships and creates memories as a family and helps to establish bonds, especially with babies and very young children. 

It opens doors through which children can learn about themselves and the world they live in, different cultures, and people.  It builds vocabulary and strengthens fluency in reading.  When children are read to, or as they learn to read, their imagination begins to blossom and it gives them the tools needed to become successful students, not to mention establishing neural pathways in their brains. 

Little School Library

It is important that young children are exposed to lots of different types of books – interactive books are fun and intriguing for babies. Books with texture, lift-the-flap, sounds, and buttons are irresistible to most little ones.  Books with rhymes, about the world, about animals, about transport or families.  Books that tell stories, factual books, or joke books.  We have a huge variety of books at Little School that we are able to rotate frequently though children will always have a favourite book that lights up their interest or comfort them.

Reading with your child

This term in Little School we put together "story sacks" for Fledglings – a bag containing a book and an accompanying soft toy, e.g. “The Hungry Caterpillar”.  Parents find this a useful prop when they want to sit and read with their child and engage their curiosity.  Whether you chose to read a story at bedtime or catch a few minutes during a busy day, reading to children - pointing at and naming pictures, pressing buttons, or feeling textures - teaches children to calm down, focus, and lose themselves in a world of wonder. 

Developing A Love of Reading

We create a “word rich” environment in Little School – using lots of different prints, scripts, and labels.  Children will become accustomed to seeing writing all around them and the first sign your child is aware of literacy is quite often when they start pointing to the first letter of their name as they see it in different places.  Children as young as two will start to learn letters and sounds and both parents and teachers should promote these pre-reading skills as much as possible.

We encourage visiting a local library to borrow books – if your child is anything like mine, they devour books and I could never keep up with purchasing new ones all the time.  Woking library promotes the love of books and reading and offers young children free rhyme time and story time sessions on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday mornings – please check for times.

Ultimately, the most important reason to read to children is for the pure enjoyment it affords, finding different books that provoke, educate, nourish, humour, excite and calm is exactly what we all need in an era of digitalisation and overstimulation.  Curl up with a good book and enjoy time devoted to reading to your child – they will thank you for it!

The more that you read, the more things you will know,

the more that you learn, the more places you’ll go 

Dr. Seuss

Julie Swords 

Top Tips for parents

12-24 months:

Give your child a bowl of dry Cheerios, Rice Krispies, or raisins and encourage them to pick up the cereal using a pincer grip, i.e. thumb and forefinger; this will support the development of fine motor (muscle) skills which are essential for pre-writing activities and hand-eye coordination.

2-3 years:

Look for the first letter of your child’s name in different places – billboards, books, packets, boxes, labels, postage, etc.  Note the different types of print, sizes, and colours.  The next stage might be to look for “m” for “mummy”, and “d” for “daddy”.