Often parents will ask, “When is my child going to start to read?”, “My son knows his ABCs, but why can’t he read letters together?” “How can I create an environment which encourages literacy?” Read on to learn how to develop the best environment that will lay the foundations for literacy…

Positive Print

Get excited about print! In order for children to become competent readers and writers, children must want to read and write. By showing a positive attitude towards books and writing, your child will mirror this too! You can do this by:

  • Getting excited about book and story time
  • Talking about the books you read together
  • Showing your child the books you enjoyed as a child
  • Using texts and print from different mediums, such as magazines and newspapers
  • Showing that writing is a natural part of the day (e.g., writing notes for each other and leave around the house, writing shopping lists etc)


Interests, Interaction; and Independence

Choosing books that match your child’s interests is vital to sparking interest in reading. Remember to keep in mind your child’s development stage when choosing the book with your child and not to discourage your child if the book level is too difficult. You can simplify the language of the book, or just look at the pictures of the book with your child – but never discourage their interests, especially if they engage with print or books independently!

Reading can be a great time to interact with your child, and make conversation. The Hanen Teacher Talk programme suggests the following to help interact, converse and learn through reading:

  • Observe your child, wait to see what they are interested in, listen to what your child is trying to tell you (through body language, speech, signs or gestures).
  • Be face-to-face, rather than side-by-side. Mirror your child’s body language. If your child wants to relax and lie on their front, you should try and mirror this to make them feel comfortable when listening or engaging in the story.
  • Follow the child’s lead – when reading, build on the child’s interests and respond to their initiation, actions, words and questions by acknowledging them and expanding on them.
  • Take turns – reading should be a team effort! Pause and wait in repetitive books to see how your child responds, this will maximise their confidence in trying to read and engage in the book.
  • Match your language to the child’s stage – make your language easy to understand by exaggerating intonation and rhythm in your voice.


So read with enthusiasm; at your child’s level, and with your child taking the lead to create a stimulating, exciting foundation for literacy skills at home.