The 3 year olds' interest in writing and reading

We can often see children of this age looking for a particular letter and being fascinated as soon as they hear the sound of the letter in a word. Sometimes the letter is not even there and it is only the sound that they hear and then associate with that letter. This is a good example of a child who is introduced and stimulated to writing and reading and phonological awareness.

Children who have been introduced to writing and reading earlier will be more curious about these concepts when they are introduced at daycare or at home. They will enjoy copying the letters of the alphabet as if they were playing. This is when we, as adults, need to take the opportunity to nurture their interest and deepen their knowledge. 

In the beginning, the first letter the child will usually recognize is the letter of his first name, like A for Alice. Why? There is no direct explanation, but it can be as simple as it is his first name and therefore his letter. He will be proud to recognize HIS letter and associate it with HIS first name. Then, he will find other words or names of his friends having this same letter at the beginning as his. Later on, he will also be able to recognize the sound of his letter in different words like pAnier, pApa, Annabelle... It is also interesting at this moment to bring the child to see that in the name Antoine there is an A at the beginning of his name like Alice or Annabelle, the only difference is that the letter makes another sound because it is stuck with an "n". If the child does not react and continues to play, do not worry. The child may not yet have understood the meaning of what you said, but his brain has registered. So, when he is ready to learn this new concept, it will be easier, because he will have already been introduced to it (a letter can make a different sound depending on the letter it is stuck to). Be careful, that being said, you don't want to overwhelm the child with information. Instead, go with things that interest them and little by little to get their attention.

 So, as mentioned above, around the age of 3, the child is interested in the letters of his name, and he likes to find these letters everywhere around him. On cereal boxes, clothing labels, toys, cards, magazines; everything can become a letter hunt. He will then be introduced to reading and writing. When we write his first name on his drawing or the date, it is helpful to tell him that writing his first name lets us know who drew the picture because we will be able to read it and writing the date lets us know when the picture was drawn. This seems like simple and benign information, but for a child who has no idea of this way of communicating, he will be initiated to it. It is even proven that later, in primary school, the child will be more capable and interested in this new notion if he has been initiated at a young age. So why not take advantage of it!

Often we have no idea how to introduce our little ones to writing and reading. Unlike speaking, these two concepts are not something we take for granted. They are concepts that need to be stimulated and can be stimulated from day one. Yes, I'm not talking about giving a pencil to the hand of the child, but only about reading him stories with pictures or allowing him to manipulate small books. This way, he will become aware that these things exist, that a book has pages and that pictures have a meaning. When they are a little older, we can look at a picture and ask them what they think will happen. After he answers, simply inform him that you will read the words together to find out what happens next. And that's it! Introducing a child to writing and reading is not as difficult as you might think. No need to surround yourself with word cards, twenty books, a hundred pencils and lots of games. No, a label on the back of his favorite snack is enough and sometimes more useful than any game, because his attention will be captured in everyday moments.

This learning can be stimulated in all sorts of ways. The possibilities are endless, but I have given you a few hints above. Here is a book to help you, if you want to go further, that explains these concepts in a simple way.

 - L'éveil à la lecture et à l'écriture, by Pascal Lefebvre and Marie-Ève Bergeron-Gaudin.

If you want to play letter association games, here are our favorites to help you! White washable sheets and letters of the alphabet. I hope to have enlightened you on concepts that can sometimes be discouraging and difficult to understand. If not, I encourage you to click on this link to get other simple ideas to stimulate the awakening to writing and reading. Don't forget to leave a comment, like and share.

Geneviève
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