Literacy Knowledge & Skills

The Literacy Knowledge & Skills domain describes skills that provide the basis for children’s emerging ability to read and write. Preschool age children are developing attitudes about reading that will affect their approach to learning as they age. They are also developing basic understandings about how books and other print materials convey meaning. This domain also addresses early reading skills, such as the ability to hear and differentiate sounds in words and some basic letter knowledge. Children’s ability to physically write is closely tied to their development of fine motor skills at this age, which often vary significantly, and so children practice communicating their ideas on paper in whatever way they can, including scribbling, dictation, drawing pictures, or tracing letters and words.

Literacy Knowledge & Skills

Children may . . .

Children may. . .

Suggested Supports
Adults may . . .

1. Print and Alphabet Knowledge:  The interest in books and their characteristics, and knowledge of the alphabet.

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of how print is used (functions of print) and the rules that govern how print works (conventions of print).*
  2. Identify letters of the alphabet and produces correct sounds associated with letters.*
  3. Show interest in shared reading experiences and looking at books independently.*
  4. Recognize how books are read, such as front-to-back and one page at a time, and recognize basic characteristics, such as title, author, and illustrator.*
  5. Recognize words as a unit of print and understand that letters are grouped to form words.*
  6. Recognize that the letters of the alphabet are a special category of visual graphics that can be individually named.*
  7. Attend to the beginning letters and sounds in familiar words.*
  8. Recognize print in everyday life, such as numbers, letters, one’s name, words, and familiar logos and signs.*
  9. Understand that print conveys meaning.*
  10. Understand conventions, such as print moves from left to right and top to bottom of a page.*
  11. Recognize the association between spoken or signed and written words.*
  • Handle books respectfully and appropriately.
  • Distinguish between upper and lower case letter shapes.
  • Play guessing games using letter sounds (“I spy something that begins with sssss.”).
  • Select alphabet letters that match with their sounds.
  • Recognize the letters in own name.
  • Know the name for many letters of the alphabet.
  • Recognize how printed material connects to their world and daily life.
  • Associate pictorial symbols with objects or actions (e.g., picture recipes, rebus stories).
  • Recognize that print can tell people what to do.
  • Understand that letters function to represent sounds in spoken words.
  • Identify their name on labels or tags.
  • Make books available in children’s home languages.
  • Use books that communicate information to learn about the world and contain rich language.
  • Read to children often for pleasure and information.
  • Visit the library.
  • Model reading for children (e.g., newspaper, novel).
  • Provide magnetic letters and alphabet blocks, stamps, books, and puzzles.
  • Explore letters through sensory experiences (e.g., trace letters made of sandpaper or rice; use alphabet cookie cutters or pasta alphabets).
  • Point out letters in familiar names and signs.
  • Point out signs and labels in the classroom, neighborhood, or store.
  • Call attention to a variety of print, such as books, newspapers, magazines, menus, cereal boxes.
  • Create a learning environment that reflects the children’s cultures and languages in each learning center, on wall/window/bulletin board displays, and in educational and play materials.
  • Model using print resources to gain meaning and understanding or answer a question.

2. Phonological Awareness:  An awareness that language can be broken into words, syllables, and smaller pieces of sound.

  1. Identify and discriminate between words in language.*
  2. Identify and discriminate between separate syllables in words.*
  3. Identify and discriminate between sounds and phonemes in language, such as attention to beginning and ending sounds of words and recognition that different words begin or end with the same sound.*
  4. Recognize patterns of sounds in songs, storytelling, and poetry.*
  • Recognize the difference between words that sound similar.
  • Break words into syllables (e.g., clap or tap them out with rhythm instruments).
  • Recognize rhyming words and alliterations.
  • Repeat rhythmic patterns in poems and songs through clapping, marching, or using instruments to beat syllables.
  • Model having fun with words (e.g., rhymes, poems, finger plays).
  • Share songs and poems with children.
  • Encourage children to fill in missing words and complete familiar refrains in familiar rhymes and songs.

3. Comprehension and Text Structure: The ability to understand and get meaning from stories and information from books and other texts.

  1. Ask and answer questions and make comments about print materials.*
  2. Retell stories or information from books through conversation, artistic works, creative movement, or drama.*
  3. Make predictions based on illustrations.*
  4. Begin to identify key features of reality versus fantasy in stories, pictures, and events.*
  5. Demonstrate interest in different kinds of literature, such as fiction and nonfiction books and poetry, on a range of topics.*
  • Use drawing or drawing with captions to identify key characters or events in a story read aloud. 
  • Compare events in books to their own experiences.
  • Use pictures to understand and make predictions about the topic or story in a book.
  • Look at pictures, ask questions, and talk about information from books.
  • Ask questions about the stories read together.
  • Provide materials such as flannel board sets, puppets, and other props to act out and retell stories.

4. Writing:  The familiarity with writing implements, conventions, and emerging skills to communicate through written representations, symbols, and letters.

  1. Experiment with writing tools and materials.*
  2. Recognize that writing is a way of communicating for a variety of purposes, such as giving information, sharing stories, or giving an opinion.*
  3. Use scribbles, shapes, pictures, and letters to represent objects, stories, experiences, or ideas.*
  4. Copy, trace, or independently write letters or words.*
  • Begin to develop proper pencil grip.
  • Communicate with others with a card or letter.
  • Use shapes, symbols, and letters to express ideas.
  • Talk about a picture or experience.
  • Describe something learned about a topic (e.g., butterflies, frogs, snow) verbally or through representations.
  • Ask questions and investigate topics of interest.
  • Encourage children’s interest and attempts to copy or write letters and their own name.
  • Provide experiences with markers, crayons, and pencils.
  • Display writing and drawings.
  • Encourage children to participate in activities that involve reading and writing, such as making a grocery list.