Getting your child ready for literacy learning in primary school

Literacy involves speaking and listening, reading and writing. How you can support your child's development of early literacy skills.

Literacy involves speaking and listening, reading and writing. Engaging with your child in play-based literacy activities every day will support their development of early literacy skills.

Talk and interact with your child. Through talk, children not only learn about communicating with others, they also learn how to take turns, ask questions and develop a knowledge of words. Together these help to create a strong foundation for the development of reading and writing skills.

Try some of the following activities with your child.

Speaking and listening

Developing speaking and listening skills are important for children to socialise, make friends and to actively participate in school activities.

  • Make conversations fun. For example, make up funny or nonsense rhymes.

  • Talk with your child about events as they happen, using everyday words and your home language.

  • Have fun with the sound of letters. Make up silly sentences using words that start with the same sound such as, “Sam sat on six socks.”


Read to and with your child daily. Encourage your child to explore books by themselves or with a family member. This will support your child to understand how books work and to build a love of reading.

  • Play word games with rhyming words.

  • Read books with rhymes and riddles that your child enjoys reading.

  • Sing songs. Make up a song about an everyday activity such as getting dressed.

Drawing and writing

Encourage your child to draw or write about topics that interest them. This will support

your child to explore how messages can be communicated in different ways.

  • Ask your child to draw or write about things they like to do, make or play.

  • Encourage them to create a card for a friend or an invite to a special event or celebration.

  • Support your child to draw or write something special for a friend or a family member.

Always encourage your child and use activities and topics that they are interested in. If you speak a language other than English it is important that you support your child to use their home language when talking, reading and writing.

Most importantly, have fun with your child and make use of the literacy opportunities in everyday activities. The early years are critical to developing a lifelong love of learning.

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