Six Early Literacy Skills


Print Motivation

Print motivation is an interest in and enjoyment of books. 

Why is it important? Children who enjoy books and reading will be curious about how to read. They will read more.

  • Let your child see that reading is fun!
  • Have book sharing be a special time for both you and your child. Short periods of reading are okay—important to keep your mood and your child’s mood in good spirits.
  • Keep books in the toy box or on a shelf that your child can reach and look at whenever they wish.

Phonological Awareness

Phonological awareness is the ability to hear and play with the smaller sounds in words. 

Why is it important? Being able to hear the beginning and ending sounds that make up words will help children sound out words when they begin to read.

  • Sing songs, repeat rhymes, and play rhyming word games, using silly words.
  • Read rhyming books.
  • Say tongue twisters!


Vocabulary is knowing the names of things and the concepts of more/less, before/after, above/below, to name a few.  

Why is it important? Children need to know the meaning of words to understand what they are reading. The more words they hear, the more ready they will be to make connections when they read.

  • Use many words and a variety of words when talking about something to your child.
  • Explain unfamiliar words to your child.
  • Read books – picture books, non-fiction/informational books—these books are rich in vocabulary which is not used in regular conversation.

Narrative Skills

Narrative skills is the ability to describe things and events and to tell stories.  

Why is it important? Being able to talk about and explain what happens in a story helps a child understand the meaning of what he or she is reading. Good narrative skills lead to good comprehension.

  • Name things, both real and describe the pictures in books you are reading to your child.
  • Talk about what is happening or what you are doing as you are doing it, or how it happened during the day.  Narrate your life and your child’s.
  • Listen as your child tries to tell you something, be patient.

Print Awareness

Print awareness is noticing print everywhere, knowing how to handle a book and understanding how to follow the words on a page.  

Why is it important? Before children learn to read they need to know the mechanic of how books and words work, books have words and pictures to tell a story reading from left to right, start at the front of the book, turning pages, holding the book upright.

  • Read books to your child.
  • Point to the words in the story, so your child begins to learn that you are reading the text, and not the pictures.
  • Point to signs and words that are around you everyday, and read them aloud to your child.
  • Use every opportunity to read aloud print.

Letter Knowledge

Letter knowledge is knowing letters are different from each other, that the same letter can look different, and that each letter has a name and relates to specific sounds.  

Why is it important? To read written words, children must understand that they are made up of individual letters and that each letter has it’s own name and sound.

  • Point out things that are alike and different.
  • Feel different shapes and talk about shapes.
  • Read ABC books.  Find letters all around.
  • Play with letters, magnet letters, felt letters – have your child see how their name is written.