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

education preschoolers

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.

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Story time fun: 3 easy and fun ways for early literacy

Why is story time the best time for early literacy? It is a time for a group of preschoolers or young children to engage with books and reading. Early literacy doesn’t happen overnight. It is cultivated with amazing picture books and stories.

But how can parents and educators promote early literacy at home. As early as 5 months, babies are able to distinguish between languages. More amazingly, bilingual babies can identify an apple whether it’s English or Spanish. Whether it’s simple picture books with colors, animals, or shapes, reading can be fostered at home.

Early literacy is more than promoting reading simple books. It is the gift that parents can give to children to become independent thinkers. It promotes print awareness, phonetics, vocabulary, and critical thinking. It is even more important for bilingual preschoolers.

Besides reading fun books, there are other ways to incorporate early literacy. Puppets are amazing learning tools. Flannel boards allow children to engage in different ways. And dramatic play is a fun way to use different costumes to express their feelings.

Girl playing with puppets

1.  Puppets

What are some ways to create puppets or a puppet show?

  • Use recycled materials like old blankets or sheets to create background scenery or a particular season
  • Use 2 chairs or the back of a sofa to use as a theater
  • Make use of old socks or gloves to display puppets
  • Use wiggly eyes and different materials to create facial expressions
  • Use yarn or scraps of ribbon to create hair
  • Use paper bags to make hand puppets

2.  Flannel boards

What are some materials to use for a flannel board?

  • Select different scraps of materials for texture such as velvet, corduroy, suede, leather, rubber, or other interesting items
  • Adhere Velcro to attach other than flannel
  • Use a poster size or an 11×8 inch board to display them easily
  • Use an old wool glove to use small flannel pieces

3.  Dramatic play

What are some great costumes to use?

  • Use old clothing as police officer, dentist, veterinarian or other career job
  • Use kitchenware to pretend cooking or preparation of foods
  • Add different hats to display different people
  • Use different clothing for each of the seasons
  • Incorporate umbrellas, scarfs, shoes, socks, and other accessories to show their several uses

Whether reading a Spanish, bilingual story or listening to a favorite song, incorporating puppets, flannel board, and dramatic play can enhance early literacy. And many of these learning tools are excellent supplements to any language class.

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Poetry for kids: 3 literary Spanish poems to learn rhyming

literary Spanish poems

When it comes to learning new vocabulary, there’s no better way or more fun than a rhyming poem. In these literary genres, not only do children get to appreciate a rhyme and a story, but they also get lyrics to a song.

When reading poems, children might either clap their hands to the syllable formation in the poem or they can use an instrument to follow along. Good sources of instruments are tambourines, xylophones, and a piano.

Here are some excellent examples of literary Spanish poems for children:

1.  El Chivito Marinero by Margarita Montalvo

“El chivito marinero
… fue a la mar
pero no … contento
sin … pastar

Allí no había nada verde
ni … saltar;
agua a … costados, 
agua … inmensidad.

Un día allí …
tomando un baño de sol
vio … cocinero
con … una col.

Da salto en salto
… al cocinero siguió
y en un rincón …
muchas …descubrió” 

Aquel hombre allí tenía, 
sembradas …, 
… todas clases
para … buen sabor. 

Ahora el chivo es cocinero, 
… chef …vapor
y cuida …
sonriente y …amor. 

The poem beautifully tells the story of a little goat trying to find his way in a lost sea. Notice in the second verse that he is so lost that he sees water all around him but no food or land in sight.

But then, he sees a cook (cocinero) with some food and herbs (hierbas). Can you identify the rhyming pattern with the clues that are presented?

For example, the words mar rhyme with pastar and saltar. Other words are sol-col, siguio-descubrio, and sabor-vapor-amor.

literary Spanish poems

Another excellent example of rhyming and learning new words is nursery rhymes and sayings. Here is a great example of other literary Spanish poems:

2.  Doña Araña by Alma Flor Ada and F. Isabel Campoy

“Doña Araña … a pasear
hizo … y se … trepar, 
vino … y la hizo bailar, 
… la tormenta y … bajar.”

Take a moment to examine the last words in each line and try to see if you can find words that can rhyme in the poem. Again think of words that end in -ar.

3.  “Para curar el dolor de un golpe” by Alma Flor Ada and F. Isabel Campoy

“Cura, sana,
… rana, 
dame … besito 
y vete … cama.”

In this very traditional poem, keep in mind the green amphibian rana rhymes with sana.

Poems for children can be a delightful way to learn rhyming and syllables. It can help children to identify particular Spanish vowel blending, pronunciation, and phoneme awareness. These skills are essential for learning any language.