What parents do, or don’t do, has a lasting impact on their child’s reading skill and literacy!
Children develop much of their capacity for learning in the first three years of life, when their brains grow to 90 percent of their eventual adult weight (Karoly et al., 1998). Given the course of brain development, it is not surprising that young children who are exposed to certain experiences usually prove to be good readers later. Just as a child develops language skills long before being able to speak, the child also develops literacy skills long before being able to read (National Research Council, 1998).
Counting, number concepts, letter names and shapes, associating sounds with letters, interest in reading, and cooperation with other children are all relevant to learning to read (Wells, 1985). Researchers studying high school seniors found early educational experiences—such as learning nursery rhymes, watching Sesame Street, playing word and number games, and being read to—are all good predictors of later reading ability (Hanson et al., 1987).
Positive parental attitudes toward literacy can also help children become more successful readers (Baker et al., 1995). Enthusiasm about books and reading can be shared between a parent and child and deepen the child’s interest in learning to read (Snow & Tabors, 1996). Children who learn from parents that reading is fun may be more likely to sustain efforts to learn to read when the going gets tough (National Research Council, 1998). Some experts believe that parental emphasis on reading as entertainment, rather than as a skill, develops a more positive attitude toward reading in children (Baker et al., 1997).
Wise parents understand that play is the work of children. Parents can use the arts to help develop early language skills, from the first lullaby to dramatization of a favorite story (Council of Chief State School Officers, 1998). Dramatic play can develop vocabulary, concepts and creativity, all part of pre-literacy skill building. Music and other language-rich creative arts can stimulate a young child’s language and literacy development through one-on-one interaction with a caring adult.
How I think @ 50 months
At 50 months, your child spends the majority of their playtime in fantasy activity, which tends to be more cooperative than play that focuses on toys or games. As they learn to take turns, share, and create new games together, children start developing important social skills such as paying attention, communicating (through actions and expressions as well as words), and responding to each other appropriately.
Motor Development: Gross Motor Skills
• I can hop and do somersaults
• I can swing and climb
• I may be able to skip
Motor Development: Fine Motor Skills
• I can copy triangle and other geometric patterns
• I can draw person with body
• I can print some letters
• I can dress and undress without assistance
Language and Thinking Development
• I can recall part of a story
• I use future tense
• I can say my name and address
• I can count ten or more objects
• I can correctly name at least four colors
Social and Emotional Development
• I can play in a group, extending and elaborating play ideas
• I initiate play, offering cues to peers to join them
• I can keep play going by responding to what others are saying or doing
• I demonstrate friendly behavior, initiating conversations and forming good relationships with peers and familiar adults
Disclaimer: This presents an overview of child development. It is important to keep in mind that the time frames presented are averages and some children may achieve various developmental milestones earlier or later than the average but still be within the normal range of development. This information is presented to help parents understand, at a high level, what to expect from their child. Any questions/concerns you may have about your child’s development should be shared with your doctor.