Research has shown that children who develop pre-literacy skills are at an advantage of learning to read and write when they start primary school. These skills begin to form very early in life as young ones learn to use verbal and nonverbal communication techniques to express themselves.

Pre-literacy skills are derived from consistently being exposed to language-and print-rich environments. ChildPsych looks at what pre-literacy skills involve and how you can help your child develop these skills: 


What are pre-literacy skills? 


  • Having knowledge about different letters 

Children should be able to recognise different letters in the alphabet.

  • Having a good vocabulary 

Children should have an accurate understanding of different words and be able to use them in a conversation.

  • Being aware of sounds 

Different letters of the alphabet make different sounds. Children should know that words can be broken into smaller chunks, each with unique sounds. 

  • The knowledge that printed text has meaning

The knowledge of print awareness includes an understanding that printed texts have different meanings. For example, writing in a storybook is to tell a story, while writing on a traffic sign is to give instructions.


How to develop pre-literacy skills 


There are many ways to help improve your child’s early literacy skills. Some creative ways you can try include:

1.Encouraging your child to tell you about his or her day.

This helps with the skill to hold a conversation and increases story-telling abilities. 

2. Helping your child to write their own name.

Assisting your child to write out his or her name boosts their confidence and improves their writing ability. 

3. Pointing out different types of print to your child.

By drawing your child’s attention to different words and sentences on print media helps your child to identify words and their meaning. 

4. Reading books to your child and drawing his or her attention to words.

When your child sees new words and hears how they are pronounced, it increases your child’s vocabulary. 

5. Singing nursery rhymes.

A fun way to enhance auditory skills and speech development is by singing nursery rhymes to your child. They will quickly pick up on the words and before long, will sing the songs themselves. 

6. Sounding out the letters of the alphabet.

Learning the alphabet is the fastest way for children to recognise and name letters, both in sequence and in random order.

Gaining skills for school-readiness

By the time your child enters pre-primary school, he or she should have some preliteracy skills. This includes being able to hold a brief conversation, to react to stories, to know that printed words carry meaning and to know some of the sounds represented by letters of the alphabet. Luckily, there are many ways for them to gain these skills. The most important thing to remember is that you have to expose your child to language-and print-rich environments often. 

Remember that not all children learn and develop at the same pace. Your child may not show a complete understanding of all pre-literacy skills at a certain age and that is completely normal. As long as progress is made, your child is developing his or her skills. 

If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to speak to Anel at ChildPsych.