Six Skills

Six Literacy Skills

Early literacy is what children know about reading and writing before they actually learn to read and write. Literacy skills begin developing in the first 5 years of life.

Early literacy skills include Print Motivation, Print Awareness, Phonological Awareness, Letter Knowledge, Vocabulary, and Narrative Skills. These are important foundational skills for learning to read and write.

Print Motivation: Being interested in and enjoying books.

Children with print motivation enjoy being read to, play with books, pretend to write, and enjoy visiting the library. Children who perceive reading as a pleasurable activity and books as interesting will be motivated to learn to read.

Print Awareness: Noticing print everywhere, knowing that print has meaning, knowing how to handle a book, and knowing how to follow the written word on the page.

Children have to be aware of words before they can read them. They need to know how books work - which is the front and back cover, what's upside down and right side up, which page to start on and which direction to read (from left to right in English).

Phonological Awareness: Hearing, manipulating, and playing with the smaller sounds of words (rhyming, syllables, starting sounds).

Children with phonological awareness skills recognize that words are made up of a number of sounds. They can hear and create rhymes, say words with sounds or "chunks" left out, and put sounds together to make a word. Children who can hear and understand how words are made up of smaller sounds will be more successful at "sounding out" written words when they start to read.

Letter Knowledge: Knowing that letters are different from each other and that they have different names and sounds.

As children gain letter knowledge, they learn that the same letter can look different (capital and lowercase), that each letter has a name, and each letter is related to sounds.

Vocabulary: Knowing all kinds of words. Knowing the names of objects, feelings, concepts, and ideas.

A strong vocabulary helps children decode words and understand what they read. Children with bigger vocabularies have an easier time when they start to read, because it's easier for them to make sense of the words they are sounding out. Children who understand what they're reading are more motivated to keep reading.

Narrative Skills: Describing things and events, telling stories, knowing the order of events, and making predictions.

Children with good narrative skills can use expressive language effectively. They can recount events, describe things, and tell and retell stories. They can explain their feelings and desires, which can lead to fewer tantrums and help make parenting easier. Narrative skills are important to reading development because they help children comprehend and explain the meaning of what they’re reading.


Every Child Ready to Read
Ohio Ready to Read
Colorado Libraries for Early Literacy