Activities such as reading the names of street signs and stores and reading the ingredients on packages can help make children aware of the importance of printed words.
One of the most important things parents can do to encourage literacy in their early learner is to talk to their child. In a study conducted by Hart and Risley (1995, 1999 as cited by Rosenkoetter & Barton, 2002), children whose parents talked to them more frequently learned to read faster, had more proficient oral and written vocabularies, better grammatical skills, and performed higher on academic tasks than children whose parents were less verbal. Asking questions and sharing experiences are simple but effective methods of having children retell information and use sequencing skills.
Children who have access to computers and learning software have an academic advantage over other students. A study conducted by Zevenbergen & Logan (2008) examined the ways in which preschool children were interacting with technology and how this interaction might affect other literacies. They noted that for many young children, technology has been an integral facet of their lives since birth. They use DVD players, remote controls, cellular telephones, and microwave ovens as routine components of their daily lives. Zevenbergen and Logan (2008) refer to these children as "digital natives." They discovered that children were using computers in a variety of ways and found that they were developing knowledge about computers as well as computer skills. Parents can encourage their children to be technologically literate in a number of different ways. First, they can introduce them to technology in the home. Secondly, they can also introduce them to age-appropriate learning software and guide their internet use. Finally, parents and children can watch developmentally appropriate television together (Rosenkoetter & Barton, 2002) and discuss the things that they see.
In a study conducted by Freeman and Bochner (2008), the researchers became aware that many children from indigenous homes did not have access to books, and consequently were lacking in book-handling and book-reading techniques. They noted that these children were at risk of becoming academically delayed. They suggested that educators could help parents to teach their children by educating parents about literacy and by teaching parents and children to interact through books. The study itself focused upon helping parents to use shared reading activities with their children. The results showed a positive impact upon children's learning when parents participated in the learning process.
Literacy is a multi-faceted concept that includes reading and writing, as well as technology and cultural literacy. Children learn early literacy skills through their interactions with parents and caregivers. Their parents teach them book-handling skills and concepts of print through reading aloud and by making them aware of the importance of print in the environment. Children learn technological literacy skills through interacting with technology in the home. Their home culture affects their learning styles and educational preferences. Children's pre-school exposure to literacy is a key factor in their later academic performance.
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