Early Literacy

overview of child at table sorting shapes

I have always loved books. I loved reading when I was younger and found the love of reading again when I graduated from college and could actually read for “fun” and choose what I wanted to read. It was important to share this passion with my children. When they were younger, we had an area in our living room that was designated as their little reading corner.  

Some of my most precious memories are of Ethan and Elissa bringing me their favorite books, crawling up into my lap, and snuggling up for a little story time. They had quite the collection of books, but they clearly had their favorites as most children do. We would read the same books over and over and over again. We had the words memorized. They had the words memorized. True confession time. I tried many times to just recite the story without opening the book or turning the pages because you see, both of my children have no vision. When Ethan and Elissa were much younger, they did not really care to explore the braille or the textured pages. So, I thought what does it matter if I open the book? But they knew every time and would get upset until I turned the pages and I had to turn the pages at the right time. They understood what was supposed to be happening during story time whether they could see the pages or not.  

Looking back to those special moments, I can now point out so many positives that were happening regarding Early Literacy. When we hear of or think of the word literacy, we often think of learning or knowing how to read and write. Early Literacy, however, is not just teaching young children how to read and write. It is so much more. Early Literacy involves the development of a variety of skills that will support their overall learning. It begins at birth during the first moments of communication and bonding and promotes growth in all developmental areas which must occur before formal instruction in braille can even begin.  

Early Literacy is not just books. 

When Ethan and Elissa snuggled up for story time, there was so much more learning going on than I knew. They were growing their vocabulary and understanding new concepts. Early literacy taught them about letter sounds, rhymes, and practiced both understanding and expressing language. They improved their fine and gross motor skills by turning pages, holding books, and sitting up. Choosing books helped them make decisions. Over time, they also explored braille and tactile features. Most importantly, we bonded. We connected through funny stories, rhymes, and tales we knew by heart. It was so much more than them just loving listening to a story. We all loved the time spent together – cuddled up, bonding, and making precious memories.  

I wanted my children to enjoy books. I wanted them to enjoy reading. They may be too big to sit in my lap and read a story together today, but we do cuddle up on a couch and talk about what books we are reading. So that my friends, is a success and goes to show Early Literacy is more than just books. It is really about the cuddles!