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Early Literacy: Playing

City of Lake Oswego Oregon Official Website

Playing with your child provides countless ways to introduce new vocabulary, develop narrative skills and build letter knowledge.  Below are some ideas for promoting literacy skills through play. Visit Jbrary.com for lots of rhymes, laptime activities and finger plays. (Further Reading: Ten Things Every Parent Should to Know About Play)

Playing with baby

  • Traditional rhymes that incorporate clapping and touch, such a Pat-A-Cake, Peek-A-Boo and This Little Piggy, are perfect vehicles for sharing language through play.
  • Rattles and shakers make great accompaniment to rhymes and songs. Hold baby's hand while baby holds rattle and sing away.
  • Play games that incorporate movement such as The Grand Old Duke of York.

Playing with toddlers and preschoolers

  • Blocks: Talk about what your young child is building. Is there a story to tell about it? Introduce new words to describe structures.
  • Drawing: Ask your child to describe his/her artwork and help with descriptive vocabulary. Is there a title? Write the title and your child's name on the artwork.
  • Imaginary play: Whether it's dress up or puppet shows, imaginary play is perfect for developing narrative skills. Use the opportunity to encourage expansive storylines and offer new words.
  • Scavenger hunts: Hunt for items that begin with various letters. Play I Spy games.

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