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Language and Literacy Development in Preschool Children

Long before a child begins to speak, he is already communicating with the world around him. From a very young age, a baby knows that a cry will draw a parent’s attention and that holding out his arms means “pick me up".

And long before a child learns to read and write, he has already embarked on the path to literacy. Playing with a book, pointing to a sign or scribbling on a piece of paper – all of these are signs of emergent literacy.

Research shows that when adults create rich language and literacy environments and respond to a preschool child’s communication in specific ways, they can boost that child’s emergent language and literacy development and increase the likelihood of future academic success. And the adults with the greatest potential to help are the most important ones in that child’s life: his parents and caregivers, including child care providers and early childhood educators (ECEs).

Whether a child is developing typically or has a language delay, there is so much that parents and educators can do to promote not only his language and early literacy development, but to encourage him to be an active, confident communicator. They can, for example, help build his vocabulary and use of language, which supports problem-solving, and the ability to use one’s imagination – all of which are fundamental to the kind of sophisticated language a child needs to succeed in school.

And the good news is that parents and educators can do this without having to carve out new time in their day. Simply by tweaking the way they interact with children during everyday conversations, routines and activities, parents and educators can foster the strong language and literacy skills that are so essential for lifelong social and academic success.

How Hanen Helps

The Hanen Centre has developed a comprehensive approach that enables parents and educators to play a primary role in promoting language development and emergent literacy skills in preschool children. Drawing on the most current research in the field of early childhood language and literacy development, Hanen has created practical, easy-to-use strategies for parents to use at home and for educators to use in a variety of early childhood settings. Every activity from snack time to playtime to story time can be infused with these strategies, making language and literacy-learning a fun and natural part of a child’s day.

Recognizing the crucial role that speech-language professionals and early childhood consultants play in influencing the quality of learning in a classroom, The Hanen Centre has also developed specialized train-the-trainer workshops for these two professional groups. This training gives them the tools to support early childhood educators in creating enriched emergent language and literacy environments for every child in their care.

By empowering the most important people in a young child’s life, Hanen ensures an impact that is both deep and far-reaching.

To learn more, click on the links below: