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!