What is pre-literacy?
Pre-literacy is the period of time before a child can read or write on their own. Children start developing pre-literacy skills as soon as they are born, and there is a lot of research that shows a strong pre-literacy foundation will lead to long-term success both in and out of school. Pre-literacy can include:
- Telling or understanding stories
- Asking and answering questions
- Participating in conversations and following directions
- Knowing and using all kinds of words
- Asking questions about new words
- Making connections between words: for example, comparing the words “big” and “huge” or connecting the word “jump” to the meaning of the word “jumpy”
- Knowing what printed words are and noticing them
- Understanding how to hold and handle a book
- Following along as a book is read; knowing that English print is read from left to right
- Being excited to read and listen to stories
- Thinking about and responding to stories
- Seeing reading as something fun
- Knowing that there are different letters that make different sounds
- Knowing the names of the letters
- Knowing the sounds the letters make
What can I do to help my child develop pre-literacy skills?
Setting your child up for success as a reader and writer is easier than you might think. As long as you're reading, talking, and listening as a family, you are helping your child grow their pre-literacy skills. Here are some ideas to get you started. You can download this tip sheet below.
How does the Khan Kids app support pre-literacy skills?
Great question! The Khan Academy Kids app has activities for children as young as 2 years old and includes lots of pre-literacy practice.
In the Library, make sure you’ve set the dropdown menu to selected Kindergarten or Pre-K. In the Videos tab, check out the Early Reading and Language collection. This will give you some ideas for how to talk about and model pre-literacy skills for your learner. This video of Reya talking about the parts of a book is a good example of how Khan Kids reinforces the pre-literacy skills your child is developing.
Other activities in the app include:
- Sing along with songs by our partner Super Simple, located in the Videos tab
- Encourage your child to record a story to go along with their art in the Create tab
- Listen to stories read aloud in the Reading tab, and talk about the questions together as they come up
- Explore letters and sounds in the Letters tab; try starting with the letters in your child’s name
No matter what, as long as you’re reading, talking, and having fun, your child is well on their way to developing a strong foundation for literacy.
This is article #1 in our series of 5 articles about the path to reading. If you’d like to learn more, be sure to read the other articles!
Article 2) Phonics: the connection between letters and sounds
Article 3) Fluency: reading naturally, while paying attention to meaning
Article 4) Comprehension: understanding and thinking about what you read
Article 5) Reading routines: developing lifelong readers