Strengthening Communication Skills


Tips for Encouraging Language and Literacy at Home and in Child Care

Child care experts today agree that the components of language and literacy – the ability to listen, speak, read and write – are equal and interrelated: the development of one relies on the development of the others. They also agree that good language and literacy skills are essential to a child’s social development and social well-being. Being able to communicate well improves a child’s self-esteem and ability to get along with other children and adults; it helps a child feel more in control and ensures that he or she will be well-received by peers and adults alike. And they agree that, together, child care practitioners and parents can encourage language and literacy through simple daily activities.

Ideas for both parents and child care practitioners

  • Create “print-rich” areas, full of books, magazines and newspapers.
  • Read to your child (or children) every day. Point out words and letters – and the sounds of each word and letter – while you read. Ask your child openended questions about what you have read together.
  • Incorporate the stories you read into play-time – by having the children draw new illustrations for something in the book, for example.
  • Talk with your child one-on-one; try to keep the conversation going for at least five turns.
  • Make language fun by making up rhymes or inventing word games, such as using only words that begin with “B” for at least two sentences.

Together, child care practitioners and parents can encourage language and literacy through simple daily activities.

Ideas for child care practitioners

  • Spend some time getting to know the families of the children in your care, the activities they do together and what their children’s interests are.
  • Share what you have discovered about each child so that both you and the parents can encourage the child’s particular interests – by choosing a book about dogs, for example, for a girl who loves animals, or continuing a rhyming game at home that a boy really loved at child care.
  • Find out if the family has books and other print materials at home; encourage them to use the local library or other community resources for more materials.
  • Make up a “literacy bag” for families with fewer resources. Include print materials as well as crayons or pencils and paper.
  • Encourage parents to make reading or story-telling a time when they can sit calmly together with their child to help connect language and literacy with a warm and happy experience.
  • Recommend that family members read and write in front of their children (children learn a great deal by example, so seeing an adult reading and writing is crucial).
  • Reassure parents that each child is different and each will learn to use language in a slightly different way and at slightly different times. Share with them your observations on their child’s progress and celebrate together as their child acquires new language and literacy skills.

Ideas for child care practitioners working with children and families from other cultures and with other languages

  • Find out about the cultures and languages of the children in your centre (the Internet is a great resource).
  • Show that you value their languages just as highly as English by incorporating books in their languages into your library and stories from their cultures into your day-to-day activities.
  • Create opportunities for the children to listen, speak, read and write in their first languages as well as English.
  • Share your knowledge that children need regular exposure to both the first and the second language to become successfully bilingual, and that learning to listen, speak, read and write in the first language supports developing these same skills in the second language.
  • Suggest family members alternate reading or telling stories in their first language with stories in English and encourage their children to use both languages equally.
  • Above all, be open and receptive to the family’s ideas about how they think they (and you) can help strengthen their child’s language and literacy skills.

Canadian Child Care Federation. Copyright © 2023 Canadian Child Care Federation. Some Rights Reserved. User Agreement – Privacy Policy 

similar posts

about us

We are a community of early childhood educators committed to achieving excellence in early learning and child care.

popular posts

When a Child Is Hospitalized

Hospitalization of a child can be a frightening, stressful event for both children and parents. Often there is no preparation time before illness or injury occur. Discussions and planning can

Experience Math Through Nature

Learn how to use math to create a fun and exciting outdoor experience for your children? Engage children in real-life problem solving in nature with math concepts.

Click to access the login or register cheese
Scroll to Top


Supporter membership rate $45 CAD. Join now!

Annual Membership rate $0 CAD with the code from your local affiliate. Join now!

Anyone working in licensed child care has to apply for certification. You will find certification information for your province or territory on our child care certification page.

With your resume and cover letter ready (we’ll provide guides for this soon), contact child care centres and introduce yourself! You can call, email, or even message them on social media. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t get a reply. Try again a few days later to give them your resume in person. Remember that due to safety reasons you need to call first. Tell them you live in their area, and that you’re looking for a position.

On our provincial and territorial map we link to child care associations in your area. Follow the link to your association and join today. The associations provide valuable information to anyone starting out in their career. Even experienced ECEs can benefit. You’ll also enjoy valuable member benefits like discounts, meet other ECEs, and become a part of the child care movement in Canada.

If you join your provincial or territorial affiliate, you’re automatically also a member of the CCCF.

All licensed and regulated quality child care programs in Canada require these for the safety and security of children and families.

If you’re just starting out:

  1. Get certified!
  2. Find the requirements for your province or territory
  3. Write your resume and begin your job search. We’ll provide tips on this soon. 
  4. Get your vulnerable sector check and first aid training

Join our Facebook Group and meet other ECEs who may be able to answer your questions

Early Childhood Educators (ECEs) are incredible professionals that have rewarding, important and demanding careers. They work with young children (and their families), ages 0-12, nurturing and educating them, observing and planning for their growth and development while ensuring that they are healthy. They create interactive and dynamic learning environments where children develop social skills, develop cognitive skills and foster lifelong learning. ECEs work in child care centres, classrooms, home child cares, preschool, and parent drop-in programs. You do not need a teaching degree to be an ECE, but you do need your ECE diploma.

Annual Membership rate $90 CAD.
Join now!

Annual Membership rate $65 CAD.
Join now!

Annual Membership rate $65 CAD.
Join now!