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11642 142 Street NW
Edmonton AB T5M 1V4
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Our Mission Statement:
The Centre for Family Literacy builds, develops and improves literacy with familiies and communities.

Creating a Home That Supports Early Literacy

Research has shown that parents have a profound influence on their child’s early literacy. Parents who talk with and read to their children from birth provide them with the solid foundation in language and early literacy that is so essential to children’s success in daily activities, in new environments and in the formal school setting.

We know that the environmental factors in the early years between birth and age five have a lasting effect on a child’s literacy development. To learn to read, children need to first experience language. There are many activities parents can do to provide a rich home setting that nurtures all aspects of language and literacy.

Early participation in activities such as shared book reading, storytelling, teaching letters and numbers, and visits to libraries provide children with a foundation for early learning and emergent literacy. In particular, shared book reading and shared storytelling expand children’s vocabulary and print knowledge and build positive attitudes toward literacy.

Studies have also shown that the quality of parent-child interactions play a significant role in children’s early learning. The style of language and the amount of language that parents use when speaking with their children is a strong predictor of children’s early language and learning development. Parents should encourage children to talk about what they see, what they are doing or about their favourite book. Also, parents who respond to children’s questions and comments encourage ongoing conversations that will foster vocabulary and language development.

The availability of age-appropriate learning materials in the home, including books, toys and games provides parents with a variety of resources to encourage children’s learning. Most parents understand the importance of shared book reading, but are often unaware of the importance of toys, games and play in fostering learning. These activities foster children’s curiosity, exploration, and self-discovery, which provide the skills they need for early school achievement.

There are several resources on the Centre’s website that provide practical information for parents including Literacy and Language Tips Sheets, book lists, and party activities. Also available on the website on the Alberta Prairie C.O.W. project page are copies of newsletters containing activities for the family. These are all free to download and share.

Parents are their children’s first teachers and it is important to support their efforts in creating a home environment that encourages children’s early literacy.

writing with Mom


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