Five Components of Every Child Ready to Read: Playing

July 7, 2023 | Emily Gingras
"Five Components of Every Child Ready to Read"; Hispanic grandmother sitting with granddaughter at a laptop, reading and smiling

Every Child Ready to Read (ECRR) is an initiative created to provide caregivers and families with resources to support their child’s early literacy development. As a parent or caregiver, you are your child’s first and best teacher and the ECRR initiative provides tools and resources to help your child enter school with the skills they need. It is increasingly common that children will go into kindergarten without the skills they need to succeed, which can negatively affect all areas of development. Only 51% of Orange County children were deemed “ready for kindergarten” according to scores by the Florida Department of Education eceived from the Star Early Literacy Assessment in fall of 2021. Early Literacy development involves all areas of development, including cognitive or thinking, physical, social, emotional and language development. ECRR focuses on five early literacy components to promote these areas of development. The five early literacy components of ECRR include reading, writing, talking, singing, and playing. Orange County Library System uses all five of these to create family-centered programs and events. All five components are essential and can be practiced daily with your child.

Play may not sound like it can support literacy development, but the truth is, this is an important component of literacy development. Play allows children to practice using symbols and giving meaning to these symbols and understanding symbolic relationships. This means that when they do start learning to write, they will be able to give the marks they make meaning such as letters, numbers and more. During play, there is a significant amount of language used by children, their peers, and adults, providing numerous opportunities to hear, practice, and learn language and emergent literacy.


A group of children at a table playing with LEGO


Play allows children to be in control and engaged in the interaction. When adults follow this lead, children are more likely to develop their language and emergent literacy skills compared to play that is adult-led. As the caregiver, you can provide opportunities for writing and reading in play, even if it is not correct. For example, if your little one is playing house, have them write down a list for the store. If you are playing at a restaurant, have your little one draw up a menu and take your order on a piece of paper. Play supports many areas of development and promoting play with your child can help your child learn many of the skills they need for their future such as teamwork, communication, collaboration and more. When your child enters school or in the future in their professional career, the ability to work with others respectfully and communicate clear needs or expectations.


Further information and research on the importance of play can be found below:


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