Early literacy skills encompass far more than just learning how to read and write the alphabet. In fact, one of the most important skills to reinforce with your toddler is the art of telling a story. Storytelling helps children understand how to sequence events, how to set action in place and time, and organize a story around characters. Furthermore, storytelling helps build important social skills and develop awareness of emotions and cause and effect.
It is critical for parents and caregivers to model the skill of storytelling given that toddlers are still acquiring language and developing the means to effectively communicate their ideas. Understanding basic concepts such as beginning, middle, and end serve as the foundation for later literacy learning. You can scaffold your child's learning and understanding of story sequence with these simple activities:
Children often enjoy creating their own story. Help your toddler learn the basics of the publishing process with these simple project ideas:
1. Simple Homemade Picture Book. Use construction paper, family photos or magazines, scissors, glue, crayons/makers, a hole punch, and binder ring to create a simple picture book. Younger toddlers can dictate their story to an adult who transcribes or shadow writes (transcribes some or all words in yellow marker/highlighter for the child to trace independently), while older toddlers can use inventive spelling to create their own story.
2. Write You Own Version of the Story. Photocopy pictures from a favorite book to color and ask your toddler to write their own storyline. Characters might have different names and creative dialogue can be added to liven the story.
3. Publish a Hardback Book Using Pictures. Take advantage of websites, such as Shutterfly and Snapfish, to create a one of a kind homemade picture book. Use family photos as the illustrations or photograph your child's art to create images for the picture book. Younger toddler can dictate the text to an adult who transcribes and types the information, while older toddlers can work with an adult to write together on the computer.
Toddlers learn best when they can relate to the information and when they have a context (prior knowledge) to build upon. Utilizing the strategies outlined above, you can take advantage of everyday experiences, familiar stories, and special occasions to foster your child's early literacy development and overall language skills.
Have a favorite storytelling moment? Share your experiences and strategies to support other parents looking for ideas to utilize with their children!
ABOUT CHRISSY K
I am mom to three boys (one with several life-threatening food allergies) who will never own too many picture books or create Pinterest-worthy snacks. Simply Chrissy K is a place to find helpful tips on parenting that stem from my work with families as an educational consultant and parenting coach.
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