Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Communicating Through Literacy: We Read, We Write, We Talk

By the time your child enters elementary school, she has been exploring language and communicating with the world for five or six years! Your child's education does not start now, at the beginning of school -- it began years ago, at birth. In some ways, your child is an expert communicator: he can tell you what he wants or needs, he can make marks intended to communicate (whether legible or not), and he can read pictures and some words, making sense of context. However, he still has a lot to learn about language.

Now, in elementary school, it is time to become more intentional about responding to and encouraging children's communication; it is an important part of the child's literacy development. We automatically connect speech and text in our everyday lives, but when a child is learning to read and write, it is helpful for parents and teachers to be aware of this process. Noticing and reading text in the environment, as well as having conversation about it helps children recognize that text communicates meaning to us. Also, pointing out words you write and talking about what you mean to say shows children that we communicate through creating our own text as well as speaking.

Through classroom routines, children learn the power of writing and reading: they sign into the classroom by writing their name, they read the daily schedule, they respond to questions, they write their own stories, they watch and listen to others read text, and they read books and pictures on their own. All of this helps children connect reading, writing, and talking, because they are such interrelated concepts. Encouraging children to read and write together also demonstrates these connections.

These connections help children more fully understand language, which boosts their literacy development. So remember to encourage self-expression through reading, writing, and talking, and listen when your child communicates - she is an expert, after all, and she has a lot to share!


  1. It is important to give children literacy experiences from the time they are born. Children learn not only at school but they can learn at home and in other environments well. Taking your child to the library or the museum will encourage literacy development.

  2. This entry was so well written! Its true that children do not begin learning when they start going to school, they begin learning as soon as they enter the world and start observing everything around them. Parents may not know it, but children are learning from every single thing that they see them doing. Children probably do most of their learning by observing the adults around them.

  3. This is a great resource for parents. It is vital for parents to understand that their child's literacy development begins at birth. Parents tend to look to teachers to teach their children to be literate students, but it really begins with the parents themselves and their influence from birth.

  4. Encouraging children's self-expression through reading, writing, talking and listening is very important for children's literacy. As teachers and parents communicate with their child with reading, writing, talking, and listening, children will learn more about the world and be interested in their literacy.