Parenting during the preliteracy phase

Morgan Baden  //  Apr 20, 2016

Parenting during the preliteracy phase

My daughter, 18 months old, has long been interested in books. Books are an all-day activity in our house; she'll pull down her favorites from her bookshelf at various points throughout her day, loudly plop down on her rug—these days she likes dramatically launching herself around rooms—and will then contentedly flip through her books, babbling to herself.

Recently, though, she's been doing something new: she can't read yet (obviously), but she's begun to notice individual letters. And instead of asking me to read her the stories inside her books, she points to each letter and prompts me to tell her what it is.

This is what's known as preliteracy, and it is exciting!

Letters are everywhere in our household. When she was first learning to walk we laid out a cushy, colorful floor mat with the letters of the alphabet, and even though she doesn't stumble much anymore, we've kept it out so she can pull apart the letters. We've taught her certain ones (K is a favorite, for some reason) and she can spot them on command.

In this preliteracy phase, she's soaking up the oral language, learning about sounds, and beginning to understand the alphabet. And even though it gets a bit tiring repeating letters, it's pretty awe-inspiring to know that we're laying important groundwork for her future reading success.

If you're looking for ideas to help your own children with preliteracy skills, here are some resources from

If you've parented or are parenting a toddler, I'd love to hear your own favorite preliteracy activities!