Education for preschoolers: 5 ways to encourage early literacy at home

Education Preschoolers is the Foundation for Early Literacy

When is it a good time to start reading to your child? Is the perfect time at night or before nap time? There is really no sure answer to that question. But what educators and parents want is often to foster early literacy in children.

Reading is a fundamental skill that all children should know. How can parents encourage early literacy at home?

Although a trip to the local library is a common fun activity, there are other ways to promote reading at home. And it is also a great way for parents to spend time with their children.

Why is reading such a basic skill in education preschoolers?

Simply, studies showed that preschoolers who begin to take part in story-times or are read out-loud are more apt to have better language skills than those children who were not.

The findings of this study also suggested that preschoolers, later, have higher achievement scores in spelling, reading comprehension, and improved language skills. As a matter of fact, preschoolers who were also taught reading with early print-awareness also increased their reading levels.

Parents are the paths to encourage early literacy in preschoolers. Even despite socio-economic disadvantages, parents of low-income are still able to teach reading at home.

In a case study in Canada, educational experts questioned over 5,000 parents with 3-year-old preschoolers. The study emphasizes the importance of reading out-loud to children.

They grasp early reading skills not observed in children that were not read out-loud. But the results are more remarkable.

Of all the parents that responded to the survey, 88% said they read to their preschooler almost every day and they began reading to them at 12 months or younger.

Early literacy is not tied to socio-economic issues. It is a matter of having the proper public services.

How did these parents of low-income situations encourage their young preschooler early literacy?

Between the different learning activities available to these parents, the study found that 62% of them used paper and paper activities as the most popular form to encourage early literacy.

In addition, 37% of the parents also used television as a literacy method and 54% used books to read to their children.

But the most convincing result is the amount of parents that found public library services the most useful in teaching early literacy to their children.

In fact, 93% of parents in this study stated that libraries are great tools to teach children about early literacy and 89% responded that library services were easy to use.

Research suggests early literacy for education preschoolers is a matter of parent involvement. Public library services are available to families regardless of economic status.

And these learning tools are the reading boost that provides reading at home.

education preschoolers

What are some ways to merge early literacy at home?

1. Nobody else is a better example to young children than parents themselves.

When preschoolers or early readers begin to see their parents read and write, then they can view reading as part of everyday life.

Whether parents are reading a newspaper, flipping pages of a magazine, or thumbing screens of a tablet, young readers are capable to understand that reading is a combination of various ways to acquire information.

2. Encouragement of reading can also come when parents choose a specific time and place to read.

Parents can select a comfortable chair, sofa, or pillow to invite children to snuggle with a book. At this time, it is an excellent way to read out-loud, practice rhyming, and letter recognition.

Alphabet picture books are fun reading tools to begin to show letters and its respective sounds. Soft or board books are ideal reading materials for babies and preschoolers.

3. Textures appeal to preschoolers and it’s a great way to satisfy their curiosity.

Parents can use a small, plastic bag filled with waterproof paint or colored sand. Then, they can seal it tightly. They can sound a letter or say a particular letter and have the children trace them on the filled bag.

It is a fun way to encourage print awareness. Play-dough is another method to use texture to learn. Parents can use the dough to make different letters or simple words.

4. Letter recognition can be even more fun when preschoolers find them on magazines or cereal boxes.

A simple activity to encourage identification of letters is to cut and place them on colored construction paper or to make a mobile with them. This can also encourage early readers to learn their first name.

Magnetic letters on a cookie sheet or a refrigerator door is also a good way to promote print awareness.

5. Take-home reading bags are excellent tools to support early literacy.

Educators fill reading bags with a book, a character figure, and respective assignments. Parents can use the reading material to complement what’s learned in school. This method is very simple.

A book is selected proper to the age group. Children need to read the story and retell it to family members. Children also need to take the character figure to all the places the family goes.

Home activities to enhance the reading are to write a story based on vocabulary from the book, and to motivate them to discuss the progress of the story. Parents can also take part in the reading assignment by answering questionnaires or evaluations provided by educators.

Early literacy for the education preschoolers does start at home. But to give a reading environment doesn’t have to be costly and inefficient.

Many libraries services are good sources to help parents. And many simple learning tools can motivate parent and child to start reading at home.

Suggested reading:

  • Bernadowski, C. (2008). Teaching literacy skills to preschoolers without spending a bundle. Reading Today, 26(3), 40.
  • Steward, Frances and Goff, D. (2005) Parent Involvement in Reading. Illinois Reading Council Journal, 33(2), 56.

Barbara Mascareno

Barbara is an educational writer, teacher, and instructional designer. She loves to write K-12 education content, teaching strategies, bilingual education approaches, and foreign language.


  1. Nancy Richard on at

    When parents take their young children to the doctor for a checkup, they expect to learn how to keep their children healthy and whether they are meeting key physical milestones such as height and weight. But thanks to W.K. Kellogg Foundation grantee Reach Out and Read, families throughout Michigan, Mississippi, and New Mexico also can get help from their medical provider with building early literacy, which studies show is critical to developing reading ability and succeeding in school and life.

    • Thank you Nancy for the great information. I know that communities with these literacy programs are wonders for many parents.

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