Early Years literacy

It is crucial for children to develop a life-long love of reading. Reading consists of two dimensions: language comprehension and word reading

Language comprehension

Language comprehension (necessary for both reading and writing) starts from birth.

It only develops when adults talk with children about the world around them and the books (stories and non-fiction) they read with them, and enjoy rhymes, poems and songs together.



Exploring words

Stories are an important part of life. Loving printed books and developing an enjoyment of looking at or hearing stories is an integral part of early years practice. Research shows that the amount of input young children receive from the adults around them makes a significant difference to how children learn to communicate – leading to reading and writing.

Enjoyment of books, rhymes and songs helps children to read.

Children’s speech develops from babble, to words, to simple sentences through hundreds of hours of interactions with adults. Studies show that once babies begin to understand words their vocabulary increases quickly.

Having a large vocabulary helps children learn more. Words allow them to make sense of the world around them.

Playful interactions

From birth, babies want to connect with others and are eager to interact. For example, they might kick their legs ready to play a peekaboo game. These are important parts of an interaction that adults should notice and encourage.

Being with others helps children to build social relationships which provide opportunities for friendship, empathy and sharing emotions.

Research shows that good interactions between adults and children make a big difference to how well communication and language skills develop. Children benefit from being with responsive and enthusiastic adults who show interest in talking with them.