Preschool Literacy
Activities


Following you will find a list of preschool literacy activities that are appropriate for any early childhood classroom or home.

General Preschool Literacy Activities

Hang clipboards in one or two spots in your classroom. Stock them with paper and attach a pencil. Encourage children to use them whenever they like. (Very popular in my classroom)

Collect restaurant order pads, trucker's logs, tablets for shopping lists, small calendars, planning books, unused teacher planning books, etc. Put out a few favorites at a time. preschool literacy activities

Collect menus, empty boxes, labels off cans, advertisements, maps, small phone books, cookbooks, etc. to use in various centers.

Gather a variety of advertisements from businesses children will recognize. Label some unit blocks with the business name and logo. One logo on each block. Wrap clear packaging tape around the block to hold the logo so children can't peel it off. Children will build stores, offices and towns using these blocks. Children will enjoy reading these logos as well. KMART, WALMART, McDonalds etc. (with the golden arches of course.)

Preschool Literacy Activities - Name Recognition

Teachers often use name cards to dismiss children to go to the next activity. It was only recently that I discovered all of the lessons to be learned in a simple name card. You can, of course hold up the card each day until the child reads his own name. Provide a card with a symbol or photo along with the child's name for those who can't yet read their names.Then you can put the child's last name on the card and teach him to read that.

But, I have seen some ideas that go beyond that. One teacher I know uses a name card with room under the name to write it again. She holds up the card. After the child reads his name on the card the teacher begins to teach individual letters in the child's name.

So, the first day the teacher asks each child to point to the first letter in his name and tell what the letter is. If the child does not know the letter she teaches it. Once the child learns that letter and repeats it two days in a row she writes the learned letter under that letter in the child's name. Every time the child knows a letter two days in a row the teacher writes it on the card until the name is written on the card a second time.

This teacher is very good a showing enthusiasm for each letter learned. I think every child in her classroom identified every letter in his name by the end of the year. Many of the benchmarks created for letter learning say that a child in preschool will begin to learn the letters of the alphabet including those letters in his name.

You can teach children to identify the letters in their names by giving them each a small chalkboard or whiteboard. (If you don't have these be creative.) Make yourself a set of alphabet cards and include capital and lower case on each card. Write each child's name on his board for him leaving a little space between each letter. As youpreschool name activities show a letter card to the entire group each child can erase that letter however many times it appears in his name.

So, if your name was Sarah and the teacher held up the "a" card you would erase the two "a's" in your name. Try not to make the game too competitive You might think that the child with the shortest name always wins but this is not the case. The fun part of this game is talking about how many letters in each name, who has the same letters in their names, how many times a letter appears in a name, etc.

Another one of the preschool literacy activities for learning the letters in children's names takes more preparation than the one above. If you can do this on your computer it will probably save you a lot of time and work.

Write the names of each child in your group on a piece of tagboard or card-stock. Make two copies of each name. Leave a little space in between the letters. I use to make mine by hand and each letter took up a space about two inches by two inches.

One name strip for each child will be cut into cards that will match the child's name on the other strip. So, imagine this: The strip says "S a r a h" The cards you have cut off the second strip will say, "S a r a h", one letter on each card. You should be able to lay the cards directly on the remaining strip and it will all match up.

When you get done you will have a strip for each child and enough cards of each letter to create all of the children's names a second time. To play, place all of the "A's" together, all of the "B's" and so forth (including the capital letters).

When you turn over a "S" from the "S" pile, whether capital or lower case, the children look on their name strips for the letter s. Anyone with that letter will tell you how many they need (cards with the letter on it) and you can ask if they need a capital.

The game is done when everyone has re-created his name by placing the matching card on his name strip. Before you start the game you can put all of the name strips next to each other and see who has the longest name and talk about the letters in the names.

Preschool Literacy Activities - Dictation

Letting children dictate information is one of the preschool literacy activities that teaches them to see the relationship between spoken and written words and reading. We had our children write in their journals each day. We used planning journals but journals can serve any purpose.

I think possibly children will do more sophisticated work if they have a purpose in their journal writing but I may be wrong about this. Children will draw, scribble, write in letter-like symbols, write using conventional letters and invented spelling etc.

We also had our children dictate daily as well. Children dictated their plan for the day. What center did they choose? Who would they play with? What did they plan to do? We wrote their exact words for them.

Then I often took the child's finger and had him read what we had written as he pointed to the words. The journals could also be used by us (teachers) like portfolios. We had samples of the children's drawing, writing and language all in one place.

The idea for one of my favorite preschool literacy activities came from the books written by Vivian Paley. She wrote "You Can't Say You Can't Play" as well as many other books based on children's dictated stories. I had been wanting to try out Vivian's methods but didn't know where to start.

One day when I asked a child about the picture he had drawn in his journal we took off on a story. I tried to use the children's exact words as much as possible even if I didn't think the story made any sense. The children often changed person (I/he) as they told their story. I think that is because suddenlypreschool performance they see themselves as the character. I usually just added what I thought it should be in parenthses.

Then I moved to Vivian Paley's next step in the process. I let the author choose actors to play the parts. We had people playing rainbows, tornadoes, etc.

Then came the fun part. We had everyone who was not in the story sit around the edge of the carpet and be the audience. I read the story as best I could and the chosen actors acted it out. It was GREAT! You wouldn't believe what the children were able to do.

Sometimes I played director in order to keep things organized but most of the time the children needed no help. Eventually we began to have the actors take a bow at the end of the play. Then we would all shout, "Author, Author" and the author (who probably also had the leading role) would take a separate bow and sit down. I had children who wanted to insure a spot in a play so badly they would dictate a story. These were often children who surprised me by their request to write.

In the above preschool literacy activities, I found that children would often use TV shows as a basis for their stories. But, if you allow them to do this they will create something that is definitely their own.

I have often had children dictate a story very similar to another child's story. Sometimes I would have three stories with the same topic. The stories however will not end up to be identical.

It always amazed me that sometimes a child would get stuck on a story and include any object that might come into his vision at the time.

I usually had two rules for writing stories. We never wrote stories more than one page long (mostly because of time). Also, stories could not be violent so sometimes I had to redirect the author.

Preschool Literacy Activities - Book Bags

To involve families in our preschool literacy activities, we created book bags for the children to take home and share with their families. I purchased some ready made bags but later made my own. If you like to sew this is fun. If not maybe someone else can make the bags for you or use the non-diposable grocery bags every store sells for a buck.

I liked looking for material to match my books. Each of our bags contained one or more books (on a related topic). They also cpreschool book bagontained a spiral notebook for children and their families to write in. Sometimes the parents, grandparents, babysitter or sibling wrote in the notebook. Sometimes the preschooler drew or wrote their own text.

They told us how they liked the book, what it was about or who read to the child and how they used the props. The bag also contained a puppet or stuffed animal and an idea sheet. This was a wonderful family activity to promote literacy.

The children got a new bag on Thursdays and were to bring it back on Tuesdays. When they brought back a bag they were elegible for another bag. We didn't mind if they kept the bags longer.

Be prepared to replace parts when necessary. Always check the bags when they come in and make sure everything is in good shape. Wash the bag and stuffed animal if they smell like smoke.

I know of other classrooms that send home an inexpensive book from Scholastic or you could do this with used paperbacks. They put the book and some ideas for parents to use with the book in a gallon bag and the kids keep this bookbag.



There are many preschool literacy activities that are used to teach children the foundations for reading and writing. I hope you can use these ideas as a springboard for your own creative preschool literacy activities!



You May Also Be Interested In:
Teaching Literacy in the Preschool Classroom
Preschool Storytime Activities

Preschool Nursery Rhyme Activities
Preschool Phonological Awareness Activities


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