Here is a quick list of ideas to share with parents and teachers.


At this phase, children explore their environment and build the foundations for learning to read and write.

What teachers and family members can do:

  • Share books with children, including Big Books, and model reading behaviors.
  • Establish a literacy-rich environment.
  • Reread favorite stories.
  • Engage children in language games.
  • Promote literacy-related play activities.
  • Encourage children to experiment with writing.
  • Talk with children, engage them in conversation, say names of things, show interest in what their child says.
  • Read (and reread) stories with predictable text to children.
  • Encourage children to recount experiences, and describe ideas and events that are important to them.
  • Visit the library regularly.
  • Provide opportunities for children to draw and print with crayons and pencils.


Children this age develop basic concepts of print and begin to engage in and experiment with reading and writing.

What teachers and family members can do:

  • Encourage children to talk about reading and writing experiences.
  • Provide many opportunities for children to explore and identify sound-symbol relationships in meaningful contexts.
  • Help children segment spoken words into individual sounds and blend the sounds into whole words.
  • Frequently read interesting and conceptually rich stories.
  • Provide daily opportunities for children to write and read.
  • Help children build a sight vocabularly.
  • Create a literacy-rich environment.
  • Read (and reread) narrative and informal stories to children.
  • Encourage children's attempts at reading and writing.
  • Play games that involve specific directions (such as "Simon Says").
  • Have conversations with children throughout the day.


Adapted from the "Continuum of Children's Development in Early Reading and Writing" (part of the IRA/NAEYC position statement).

This article originally appeared in the October 1998 issue of Early Childhood Today.