Literacy skills are a vital part of a child's development. From early years right through to adult life, having adequate literacy skills helps a person to get the most out of their education and every day learning activities.
Enhancing children's literacy skills can be very beneficial so we have taken it in our interest to explore how parents and teachers can effectively do this. We have discovered many benefits, including role play that could easily be added into daily routines to increase a child's literacy skills and in turn give them the best possible chance of excelling in school.
Naturally, most children enjoy reading and listening, especially when it is something that truly grasps their attention. As a teacher or parent, you could use their interest in playful stories to boost a child’s literacy skills and interest in reading.
Make it fun!
We have explored the ways that a teacher or parent can increase children's understanding of literacy and found role play to be of the most beneficial methods.
When children have a passion for reading and writing, the results can become much more than just understanding and writing words on a page.
Literacy involves numerous communication methods – not just reading and writing, but also listening, speaking, viewing and representing.
Role Play can improve a child’s comprehension, expression, fluency and most importantly enjoyment towards learning new things. Acting out a scene from a book in front of classmates or peers can increase the amount that a child remembers about a topic or learning area. Physically acting out different scenes and playing different characters, using a variety of gestures, can help improve a child's exploration of different types of people and emotions they may possess.
For children, role play can provide many benefits, especially for early years. Physically acting out scenarios can help to improve a child's understanding of the correlation between real life people, situations and emotions felt in those situations.
From a study, undertaken by Arizona State University, when children are given an opportunity to act out scenes from a book, their reading comprehension has doubled. This shows that there is adequate research to suggest that role play can indeed enhance a child's literacy skills.
Influence Reading From a Young Age
Encouraging reading from an early age is another great way to enhance a child's literacy skills. The benefits of reading in early years is immense and we explored these in our article on The Importance of Early Years Reading.
Children who read or even listen to an entertaining book and enjoy them will associate the act of reading to a fun and enjoyable task.
Children who already enjoy listening or reading a good book are far more motivated to read, especially when given the choice. A reluctant reader however, would need to find a book that looks interesting in order for them to want to pick it up and read it. If a child enjoys a book that they have chosen to pick up and begin reading, they are much more likely to continue reading the book to the end.
Different children will have different preferences as to what genres of books interest them, some may like fiction for example and others may enjoy non-fiction books. To increase the chances of all your children finding a book to read that they enjoy, make sure you offer a wide range of different books.
How books are presented can also influence children and encourage them to read. Our Elephant Book Browser is a great way to encourage children to browse different books to find one that interests them.
Encourage Creative Role Play and Reading
In creative role play, there are often no fixed, pre-planned ways to end a story – an ending can entirely depend on how the children have perceived the story and used their imagination to come up with an ending they deem to be suitable.
Learning to effectively share a story is a critical aspect of english development. Literacy skills can effectively help children learn to use the correct language and vocabulary for multiple purposes, such as entertaining, informing or persuading.
When children collaboratively participate in a scene, they are developing their understanding and also their confidence if they are acting out certain elements. They learn to make effective decisions about how the story will unfold.
When children are following the story and working with their team, they are effectively improving communication and openness to the ideas of others. These outcomes produce an environment that enables creativity and innovation, which can be a beneficial factor for children's literacy skills.
Encourage children to be bold!
As children participate in different classroom activities, they begin to be more open and responsive to the ideas of others.
When doing role play activities, encourage children to take risks with their ideas as this can help them to explore their creativity and imagination. Always encourage children to put forward their ideas and reinforce that no idea is ever silly.
Encouraging children to explore their imaginations and go wild with ideas when creating role play stories, can lead to them creating better stories. This is because when acting out stories, they are forced to really think about what they are trying to portray in their creative writing. In turn, this can enhance their literacy skills as they are exploring their creativity in more depth.
Role play, reading and creative literacy activities within the classroom, can help children to be more engaged within English literature, even from a young age. These simple activities can help to teach them how to hook an audience as well as encouraging them to take risks with their writing.
Role play in particular can help children to see set backs as learning curves. This is due to receiving feedback from peers and teachers after acting out scenes. Role play also helps to improve children's team working skills.
Enhancing a child's literacy skills from a young age means that they are more likely to excel throughout their school life. Try implementing some of our techniques with your children and watch their literacy skills grow!
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