Communication & Early Literacy Skills

Communication & Early Literacy Skills

Communication skills are strongly linked to the development of reading and writing. The better a child's conversational skills now, the easier it will be for them to understand what they read later on.

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Key points to remember about communication and early literacy skills

  • communication skills are strongly linked to the development of reading and writing
  • a child's ability to communicate is directly related to their literacy development

Why is literacy important for my child?

Literacy is part of everyday learning. Children learn best when literacy is integrated into everyday activities, rather than isolated learning times. Use the language that you are most familiar and comfortable with.

What are some of the foundation skills to support literacy in my child?

Conversation

A child's ability to communicate is directly related to their literacy development. The better their conversational skills now, the easier it will be for them to understand what they read later on.

Vocabulary

The more words your child knows, the easier it is for them to learn new words and to gain meaning from the stories they read.

Story comprehension

Lots of experience listening to, and understanding, stories will eventually make it easier for your child to read and write stories on their own.

Print knowledge

Before your child can read or write, they must understand how print works. For example, they’ll need to know that print is made up of letters of the alphabet, that letters combine to make words and that print is read from left to right.

Sound awareness

To be ready to read, your child needs to understand that words can be broken down into syllables and smaller sounds, and that letters correspond to certain sounds.

When will my child's literacy skills develop?

Your child's early literacy skills do not develop in a specific order, one after the other. In fact, all of these skills are developing at the same time. (See the Hanen Centre website).

What are some tips to help support my child's literacy?

  • read to your child when they are very young so that they start to become familiar with different books, pictures, words and language
  • carry on reading together as your child grows
  • keep them interested by choosing books they enjoy
  • point out words and signs on outings. See if your child can recognise familiar symbols
  • encourage your child to join in with you in writing activities; for example, shopping lists, birthday cards
References

If you would like to look at anything in more detail, this listing of references might be a good starting point.

Acknowledgements

The content on this page has been produced in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and adapted from Much more than words | Manuka takoto, kawea ake (2014) (PDF, 565KB)

This page last reviewed 17 November 2020.

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