“Through literacy you can begin to see the universe.”

~ Grace Slick ~

Welcome to Mrs. Flynn’s Literacy Corner! Why literacy, and not reading? Literacy has been described as the power over letters, both in reading and in writing. Studies have shown that students learn as much, if not more, from talking and writing as they do from reading and listening. My goal for this blog is to provide parents with ways to encourage and develop all these forms of literacy in their children.

Donald Graves, a pioneer of Writing Workshop, saw children’s urge to write “as springing from a basic need to name our world, to communicate, to participate in social activity.” Very young children will scribble across a page and then beg you to “Listen to my story!” Usually, they do indeed have a story to tell!

Children can write all the words they can say. These first efforts at writing gradually become strings of letters. Soon, spaces appear and individual words emerge. Spellings will be approximate during these early stages, but parents and caregivers should encourage these initial steps toward literacy and not worry about getting spellings exactly right. Early attempts at writing encourages children to think about letters and sounds. This builds phonemic awareness, a key component to success in reading and writing.

Parents can promote writing by writing in front of or with their children. Grocery lists, birthday cards, even emails provide authentic opportunities for writing at home. Another opportunity is to have children share memories to include in holiday letters and cards. More tips on supporting young writers can be found in the latest issue of Growing Readers an online newsletter for parents, published by Reading Rockets and WETA.

Please stop by next week for more tips and strategies to help develop your child’s growing literacy skills. Also feel free to contact me if you have any questions or specific topics you’d like me to address. I’d love to hear from you.