[FEATURE] What is the Fastest Way to Teach Literacy? - Caleb Yang
The world runs on literacy. After all, it is how humans communicate, exchange culture, and interact with the world around them. One of the first things that children learn in the American education system is how to identify the letters in their names. I think most parents would agree that it is important to teach their children how to read, write, and speak as early as possible. These skills never cease to be useful, even after the transition from school to work. They are the basis for effective communication (See ”How Reading From A Young Age Sets You Up For Success“).
Every parent, guardian, or teacher has slightly different methods for teaching children literacy. But what has been proven to be the most efficient way to help children grasp new language concepts? Readingeggs.com notes, “learning to read is not a 'natural process that happens all on its own,” so it’s important to utilize strategy when teaching literacy to children (“How to Teach Kids to Read” 2).
Here are five tools that can expedite the process:
Songs and Nursery Rhymes
It’s no secret that children love songs. Even if they don’t understand any of the words they are singing, children can practice verbalizing new words. When paired with engaging stories, they serve as a memorable experience that makes comprehension much easier.
As old-timey as they may seem, word flashcards are a classic way to train vocabulary retention. They’re convenient, can be used anywhere, and are widely accessible. As a child, I loved the Brain Quest decks that were filled with puzzles and questions that tested everything from Math to Science to English. With bright, colorful pictures to keep kids turning the cards, each page is sure to teach key concepts for kids of all ages.
Consistent Word Exposure
During the “critical period” of ages 2-7, children’s language acquisition will be the fastest it will ever be in their life. So, it is essential that they have the necessary exposure to as many words as possible to take advantage of this period of time. Having posters, magazines, and endless books at children’s disposal is a fantastic way to provide a more independent style of learning. It only takes a spark of curiosity for a child to learn about a new word that showed up in their favorite picture book or Sports Illustrated magazine.
As a big proponent of technology, I believe it’s a great tool for interactive learning experiences. Modern apps and games allow children to learn in a way that is exciting as ever. Instead of lessons, children can learn with games that don’t feel tedious or boring. Of course, it’s important to limit general screen time so that technology isn’t the only factor children utilize to develop their literacy skills. But devices such as tablets are a fantastic resource to get kids excited about reading and storytelling.
Finally, it’s important to remember that a complex process like teaching literacy takes time and patience. If you take away one thing from this article, let it be this: make the learning process fun! As long as a child is having fun, they’ll be encouraged to continue learning, rather than feeling like they’re doing a chore. Rather than lazily assigning Reading Logs and expecting children to do all the work, it’s important to put in an equal amount of effort in joining them in the journey.
If there’s anything to spend time learning with children, it’s literacy. Here at Book Bears, we believe literacy is the foundation for a successful future. All it takes is a bit of curiosity, patience, and time to kickstart the great mind of the next generation!
Writer - Caleb Yang