Hurray for you! You have books and magazines and lots of reading material about the house. They are the foundation for creating a “literacy-rich environment.”
Reading is often used synonymously with literacy, but Literacy is a set of skills. It also includes writing and critical thinking, as well as understanding spoken words and communicating ideas.
The literacy accessories listed below help you incorporate these additional facets of literacy in your home and daily living.
Literacy Accessory #1 – Globe
Surprised? It is hands down my favorite literacy accessory. The world is not flat, so why should we use flat screens to show kids the world? A globes is a wonderful tool for both tactile and visual learners. How to use your globe:
- Point out places mentioned in a book you’re reading. If a character is traveling, use your fingers to show the route.
- Spin the globe then use your finger to stop it. Look at where your finger landed, then go to the library and find a book about that place or that has the place in the plot. Your librarian may have some great recommendations for you.
- Explore and ask questions: where is North America? which is bigger Russia or Mexico? How would you travel to go from New York [or any coastal state] to Japan [or any other location across the globe]?
For global exploration, big wall maps are also great choice. If you want something with more detail (for example a road trip from Wilmington, Delaware to Fargo, North Dakota), try a map of the United States. [links to Amazon.com]
Literacy Accessory #2 – Drawing / Coloring Tools and Paper
Like books, you probably have paper, crayons, markers, pencils, and pens around the house. Collectively, these tools gave kids the opportunity for drawing, doodling, writing stories, or playing games (tic tac toe, hangman, etc.). What these accessories do:
- Practice handling writing tools and building fine motor skills to control the motion.
- Promote creativity and imagination. Sometimes kids put stories in their drawings.
- Help kids interpret and convey what they “see” in their minds onto paper. Read a story about a monster? Ask your kids to draw what they think the monster looks like to them.
To encourage art and writing in our house, I kept a basket with all this stuff on the shelf with our daughter’s toys. As she got older, we put the basket with supplies and a notebook / drawing pad on a table in the family room. She also had some notebooks in her room.
Literacy Accessory #3 – Craft Supplies
Craft supplies include markers, crayons, paint, and all kinds of materials, from leftover paper towel holders and empty drink bottles to felt scraps, buttons, tissue paper, unmatched socks, etc. In addition to glue sticks, the craft box also has age-appropriate scissors.
Scissors help young children develop their fine motor skills. Manipulating scissors in their hands and following a cutting line help kids build the muscles they need for writing.
Here are a few crafty literacy ideas that look more fun than educational!
- Whether made of socks, paper bags, or figures on Popsicle sticks, puppets are a fun way to create and act out stories. Great for imaginative play, building vocabulary, and memory, too.
- Maybe it is a fairy house, maybe its a home for wayward frogs. Either way a “creature” house engages kids in using their thinking caps to design a “building’ and decide what the homeowner would want / need.
- An empty cardboard tube (paper towel, gift wrap, toilet paper) makes a great spyglass. Perfect for playing pirate or spy games and creating stories.
- Dress up any notebook by personalizing the cover. Bedazzling, stickers, and stenciling are just three options for letting kids show their style or celebrate something they love. When they make it their own, they will be more likely to use it.
Last but not least … something for reading. Bookmarks can be made in all shapes, sizes, and materials. Pair them with a favorite book as a gift for friends and family.
These are just a few ideas. What are some of the literacy accessories you love?