Being literate is essential in almost every aspect of adult life whether we are planning a holiday, selecting a birthday card, or delivering parcels. Literacy is often thought of as the ability’ to read and write’ but it also includes being able to speak and listen.
In the Revised EYFS Literacy has two aspects:
Reading is a complex process which takes time – it is based on building a wide vocabulary through listening and talking; the more words a child understands the better they will be able to make sense of what they read. Vocabulary development comes from having lots of experiences which extend the child’s spoken language and their understanding of what is being said to them. Understanding the way the spoken language works and how words can be broken into sounds and how sounds are put together to make words is part of the process which children who have opportunities to play with language develop over a period of time. Ultimately it involves reading with understanding through applying phonic knowledge to words which can be sounded phonetically and learning to read other words through familiarization.
Writing can seem deceptively simple to competent writers but it is highly complex because it involves many skills including physical, cognitive and linguistic skills. It begins with talking, listening and mark-making and develops over time as children acquire an understanding that spoken words can be represented in signs and symbols. Through learning about sounds and how these can be represented in writing children become aware of phoneme-grapheme correspondences and the skills of forming graphemes to write words and sentences which can be read – though in the beginning stages spellings will not all be accurate because they will reflect a child’s attempts at writing a word – so for example the word ‘bread’ might be written phonetically: as ‘brd’ or ‘bred’.
This national charity provides books for young children – read about how the books are selected and how Early Years Matters contributed to the process: Book Trust