Sub-domain: Literacy

The Literacy sub-domain covers goals fifty-seven through sixty-three of the Idaho Early Learning Guidelines. 

Using this guide

Scroll down to see the age group you are most interested in. Click on the goal to learn more about the goal's:

  • developmental growth
  • child indicators
  • caregiver strategies

There is an option to download the information at the end of each goal. When you click the link you will be brought to a new page where you can download the goal as a PDF.  

Two adults read with a young child

0 - 8 Months

Goal 56: Children develop phonological awareness.

Developmental Growth: Respond differentially to sounds.

Child Indicators: Shows beginning sound awareness by reacting differently to different sounds (startled reflex with loud sudden noise, turns head toward a rattling noise). Imitates vocalizations and sounds. Recognizes mother’s and father’s voice before he/she sees them. Calms when he/she hears a repeated lullaby. Initially makes vowel sounds. Combine vowel sounds with consonant sounds by the end of the period.

Caregiver Strategies: Encourage and respond to child’s vocalization. Use playful sounds in interactions with the child. Use animated expressions and language. Sing songs and listen to music.Label environmental sounds. Read books with sounds.

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Goal 57: Children demonstrate awareness of letters and symbols.

Developmental Growth: Respond to visual stimuli in the environment.

Child Indicators: Discriminates between familiar objects (bottle, blanket, rattle). Initially enjoys faces and contrasting colors. Responds to visual stimuli (self in mirror). Starts patting a picture. Prefers pictures of faces. Demonstrates awareness of familiar people and objects. Responds to high contrast and visually complex patterns.

Caregiver Strategies: Create a reading routine with child using board, cloth, and plastic books. Name pictures in books. Provide toys with mirrors. Provide pictures and toys with visual contrast. Create a book with familiar pictures (Mom, Dad, pet, favorite toys). Sing songs with child and add body movements to accompany the song. Encourage exploration of books through touching, mouthing, and playing with books.

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Goal 58: Children demonstrate awareness of print concepts.

Developmental Growth: Build foundational experiences for later concept development.

Child Indicators: Investigates books (mouthing, turning them upside down, moving them from hand to hand, or shaking and throwing them). Attends to colorful pictures in books.

Caregiver Strategies: Establish daily reading routines with children. Read with child one-on-one so that child observes and handles books often. Provide child with age appropriate board, cloth, and plastic books for the child to explore (pictures of real faces, animals). Model holding a book correctly and turning pages. Explore a variety of printed materials with child (photo albums, magazines, song books).Follow child’s lead and attention span.

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Goal 59: Children demonstrate comprehension of printed materials and oral stories.

Developmental Growth: Build foundational experiences for later concept development.

Child Indicators: Quiets to a familiar story, song, or nursery rhyme. Smiles or expresses pleasure when viewing pictures of familiar objects or people. Attends to an adult’s voice when being held and read to.

Caregiver Strategies: Establish daily reading routines with children.  Have a quiet time to share a good book. Label and name objects in daily activities. Animate stories with voices, expression, and actions. Sing, repeat rhymes, and talk to children to soothe them.

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Goal 60: Children demonstrate awareness that written materials can be used for a variety of purposes.

Developmental Growth: Build foundational experiences for later concept development

Child Indicators: Uses senses to explore books with different textures. Experiences new vocabulary paired with objects and pictures.

Caregiver Strategies: Read to baby every day.  If baby has an older brother or sister, let them read to baby too. Begin by reading parts of books or very short books with big pictures. Use a lot of expression in your voice and face. Let baby touch the pages. Make a touch book and put one thing your baby likes on each page. Talk about the things while your baby touches them.

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Goal 61: Children demonstrate knowledge and use of letters and symbols.

Developmental Growth: Build foundational experiences for later concept development.

Child Indicators: Uses senses to explore the environment.

Caregiver Strategies: Provide opportunities to explore objects. Consider safety with all objects that child handles.  Supervise at all times.

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Goal 62: Children use writing skills and demonstrate knowledge of writing conventions.

Developmental Growth: Move from reflexive to intentional hand and finger skills

Child Indicators: Grasps objects. Begins to use both hands together.

Caregiver Strategies: Encourage child to grasp, hold, and explore adult’s fingers. Encourage child to activate and explore cylindrical rattles. Allow child to grasp the spoon handle when being fed. Encourage child to activate musical toys with a cylindrical object or stick, under supervision.Let child hold book with both hands while adult turns pages.

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Goal 63: Children use writing for a variety of purposes.

Developmental Growth: Initiate and respond to sensory experiences.

Child Indicators: Explores and experiences environment using all senses.

Caregiver Strategies: Provide different textures (soft towel, plastic rattle, furry kitty) for the child to explore. Describe the feeling of objects (soft, hard, fuzzy, cool). Hold baby in lap while reading from a picture book.  Let the baby explore with all senses. Engage in face-to-face interaction games; use exaggerated facial expressions. Present bright-colored or contrasting objects within child’s visual field. Gradually hold more objects closer to or farther from child, horizontally from side to side, or in and out of child’s visual field.

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6 - 18 Months

Goal 56: Children develop phonological awareness.

Developmental Growth: Use sounds for a variety of purpose.

Child Indicators: Vocalization and use of sounds become more complex. Experiments with sounds such as blending vowels and consonants in babbling (bababa, dadada) and first words like Mama, Dada, ba for ball). Begins to label objects, pictures, and body parts. Makes the sounds of animals and moving objects. Vocalizes familiar words when read to. Recites last word of familiar rhymes, with assistance.

Caregiver Strategies: Label environmental sounds. Use playful sounds in interactions with the child. Use animated expressions and language. Sing songs and play finger games. Read books that have sound effects (Dinosaur Roar; Polar Bear, Polar Bear; What Do You Hear?). Clap, stomp, dance, or finger tap to songs familiar to child as they are sung.

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Goal 57: Children demonstrate awareness of letters and symbols.

Developmental Growth: Recognize visual representations of spoken language

Child Indicators: Points and makes sounds for pictures. Shows a preference for favorite books. Can begin to point to pictures when named. Looks at books and turns pages. Shows increasing awareness of the sound of spoken words by focusing on the speaker

Caregiver Strategies: Read to child daily. Make books available to child throughout the day. Allow child to handle the book and follow the child’s lead.Respond to child’s growing attention span. Identify pictures in books and the environment. Ask child to point to named pictures in book. Point to words while reading with child. Read alphabet books with child and focus on pictures.

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Goal 58: Children demonstrate awareness of print concepts.

Developmental Growth: Attend to visual features of a book.

Child Indicators: Pays attention to pictures in books. Holds cloth, plastic, or board book. Turns pages of a board book. Responds to mirrors and sensory material in books. Recognizes a picture when named from a book. Begins to position book right side up. Shows increasing ability to handle books, without assistance.

Caregiver Strategies: Read daily and tell stories to child. Plan to read and re-read books with patterns and repetition. Share enthusiasm and love for reading.Draw attention to the cover of the book. Make regular visits to the library.Allow children to select books. Provide child with board books, cloth, and plastic books that can be manipulated and explored with assistance. Acknowledge when child is using printed matter appropriately. Explore a variety of printed materials with child (photo albums, magazines, song books).Follow the child’s lead when reading together.  Allow child to turn pages, point, and babble. Provide children’s books with photos or clear drawings of babies, faces, animals, and vehicles, with limited words per page.

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Goal 59: Children demonstrate comprehension of printed materials and oral stories.

Developmental Growth: Engage actively with stories and pictures.

Child Indicators: Participates in word games and finger play. Begins to show preference for favorite stories and books. Makes sounds to represent parts of a story. Anticipates action that accompanies parts of a story, song, or interactive play activities.Responds to pictures, characters, or objects in books (points, vocalizes, or gestures). Points or makes sounds when looking at picture books. Points to familiar pictures, characters, and objects in books.Identifies familiar people and objects in photographs.

Caregiver Strategies: Read daily to child. Plan to read and re-read books with patterns and repetition. Share enthusiasm and love for reading. Sing songs that encourage child to listen for and anticipate an action. Read books with a predictable story line and sequence of events with child. Point to pictures as you read and encourage child to do so as well.Make books with pictures from child’s life, cultural background, and home language.

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Goal 60: Children demonstrate awareness that written materials can be used for a variety of purposes.

Developmental Growth: Participate actively in looking at picture books and written materials with caregiver.

Child Indicators: Initiates interactions for sharing written materials. Recognizes pictures that represent real objects. Shows preference for familiar food labels, clothing, graphics, and characters. Enjoys books with clear pictures or photos about daily routines (eating, toileting). Finds comfort and enjoyment in being read to.

Caregiver Strategies: Encourage and model looking at books independently and together. Have child select book to be read. Let the child lead when reading the book. Model using printed material for gathering information (cookbook, magazines, and menu). Point out pictures and label. When reading, ask where’s the _____?  Let the child point to the picture. Look at photographs of familiar people and pets.  Talk about what is happening in the picture.

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Goal 61: Children demonstrate knowledge and use of letters and symbols.

Developmental Growth: Begin to create symbols for communicating.

Child Indicators: Makes marks on paper and other surfaces. Explores materials and medium with hands, feet, and body. Begins to recognize that they can make marks on paper or surfaces.

Caregiver Strategies: Provide materials that lend themselves to patting, slapping, pushing, and pulling (flatten clay, finger paint with edible paint). Point out shapes in the natural environment (wheel is a circle; box is a square) and trace the shape with child’s finger. Encourage child to make marks in sand, dirt, or flour. With supervision, introduce paper and crayon and have child draw; hang the picture on display and/or share with rest of family. Engage child in writing, scribbling, and drawing. Acknowledge their work and comment without trying to interpret. Use soap crayons in the bath and take turns drawing lines. Paint with water on the sidewalk or walls. Provide auditory cues to child’s activity as the child marks the surface (round and round, zoom across). Make lines and circles in cookie dough and feel the configuration.

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Goal 62: Children use writing skills and demonstrate knowledge of writing conventions.

Developmental Growth: Pick up objects with increasing control.

Child Indicators: Uses palmer grasp (fist) to hold writing tools. Picks up small items using pincer grasp. Crosses midline with hands. Passes objects from one hand to the other.

Caregiver Strategies: Allow child to finger feed small bits of food from a tray or flat surface (peas, cereal, raisins).  Provide supervision. Encourage child to pick up thin books and papers from a flat surface. Hold the end part of child’s crayon as the child makes marks on a writing surface. Gently guide the crayon through the desired motion, pairing with an auditory cue (round and round). Offer large crayons and paint brushes to draw on paper while adult writes letters or pays bills.

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Goal 63: Children use writing for a variety of purposes.

Developmental Growth: Experiment with cause and effect in the environment.

Child Indicators: Explores cause and effect on the physical environment. Makes marks on paper and shows them to others. Makes marks with fingers (in food, dirt, or sand).

Caregiver Strategies: Provide child with a variety of objects and toys that are activated directly by a simple action (shaking, banging, hitting, rolling). Engage in simple interactive songs with motor actions (e.g. Eensy Weensy Spider, Twinkle, Twinkle). Give child verbal turn-taking instructions (e.g., “It’s your turn.”). Engage child in an interactive game.  Stop the activity and wait for child to indicate a desire to continue the game or action. Draw and label pictures while talking with child about an activity or idea. Model uses of writing to child (making grocery lists, writing letters). Provide different materials for child to explore sensory use of materials and development of motor skills and writing (finger paints, shaving cream, sand).

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The development of oral language forms the foundation for early literacy development, just as the ability to communicate early in life impacts the development of vocabulary and speech.

16 - 38 Months

Goal 56: Children develop phonological awareness.

Developmental Growth: Purposefully engage in activities that promote phonological awareness.

Child Indicators: Anticipates action to accompany a song (“Ring around the Rosie… we all fall down!”). Anticipates auditory signals in the environment. Repeats a refrain from a song heard before (E-I-E-I-O). Recognizes and labels familiar sounds in the environment. Plays with sounds and words when taught (nanna banana, wiggle waggle wump). Recites phrases from familiar rhymes. Completes a familiar rhyme by providing the last word. Imitates tempo and speed of sound (clapping hands fast and clapping hands slowly, speaking fast and speaking slowly).

Caregiver Strategies: Engage in songs with activities. Engage child in songs with repeated sounds. Familiarize child with rhymes and cadences. Connect motor movements to finger plays, poems, and songs. During everyday activities talk about words and sounds (at the grocery store, identify fruits with the same beginning sound:  peach and pear). Use books that focus on sounds to interact with the child.

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Goal 57: Children demonstrate awareness of letters and symbols.

Developmental Growth: Recognize visual symbols in their environment.

Child Indicators: Names familiar pictures in books.Uses symbols or pictures to represent oral language. Begins to sing songs with alphabet by rote. Begins to match similar shapes (shape puzzles or sorters). Moves finger along in books - pretends to read text. Holds books upright and turns pages.

Caregiver Strategies: Read to child daily. Encourage child to play with large magnetic letters and blocks with letters on them. Play games to match symbols and shapes. Build letters with blocks. When child is interested, make letters and shapes with a variety of materials (play dough, sand, shaving cream, blocks). Encourage child’s attempts to identify letters. Engage child in pointing out letters in environmental print (street names or on billboards, signs, or printed material in home or center).

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Goal 58: Children demonstrate awareness of print concepts.

Developmental Growth: Display awareness of the function and use of printed materials.

Child Indicators: Handles book with purpose and care. Knows where books are kept.Returns books to designated place when asked. Finds specific pictures in a familiar book. Begins to turn pages; move from board books to conventional books. Recognizes specific books by cover. Communicates a desire to be read to (locates a book and takes it to the reader).Points to pictures in books. Holds a book right side up.May have a favorite book.

Caregiver Strategies: Read daily and tell stories to child. Plan to read and re-read books with patterns and repetition. Share enthusiasm and love for reading. Model proper care of books. Draw attention to the different features of a book (front cover, title, pictures). Model holding a book correctly and turning pages one at a time.Follow along text with finger or special pointer. Read books with rhymes and rhythm.

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Goal 59: Children demonstrate comprehension of printed materials and oral stories.

Developmental Growth: Begin to find meaning in stories and pictures.

Child Indicators: Labels pictures with words. Repeats familiar parts of a story, nursery rhyme, or music. Uses a questioning intonation when talking about a story. Responds to “wh” questions (who, what, where, when, why) after hearing or reading a story. Recalls specific characters or actions from a story. May have a favorite book and ask for it to be read multiple times. Pretends to read a book to self or favorite toy. Uses pictures to describe actions (e.g., views a picture of a person running, child says, “run.”).Produces a multiple-word response to printed materials. Anticipates what comes next in known stories, with assistance (anticipates the next animal in an animal concept book). May use pretend play to act out familiar story.

Caregiver Strategies: Read daily to child. Plan to read and re-read books with patterns, rhyme, and repetition. Share enthusiasm and love for reading. Occasionally, stop to talk about the pictures, answer questions, discuss what might happen next, and think about what the characters might be feeling. Invite children to join in with repeated and predictable words, phrases, and rhymes. Provide visual supports to ensure participation of individual children (i.e. sequencing cards based on stories, songs, or fingerplays and pictures for prediction).Help children make connections between the story and their own lives. Read books with child from child’s own and other cultural backgrounds. Label shelves and toy containers with picture and printed word.

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Goal 60: Children demonstrate awareness that written materials can be used for a variety of purposes.

Developmental Growth: Engage independently in looking at books and listening to read stories.

Child Indicators: Uses purposefully a variety of books for information, enjoyment, and recreation. Recognizes familiar environmental print labels and logos (stop signs, cereal boxes, toys). Enjoys books about different things (animals, occupations, trucks, farms, fairy tales, etc.). Responds to emotional expressions in books. Uses labels and pictures to organize and categorize materials. Enjoys books with clear pictures or photos about daily routines (eating, toileting).

Caregiver Strategies: Begin to incorporate print found in child’s everyday life into dramatic play. Play games with letter blocks. Point out signs in the environment. Point out child’s written name and the letters in their name. Talk about environmental print on common products. Provide child with opportunities to help with shopping (making list, choosing items, simple counting of items). Model the use of a variety of written materials (grocery lists, notes

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Goal 61: Children demonstrate knowledge and use of letters and symbols.

Developmental Growth: Recognize that symbols have meaning.

Child Indicators: Uses increasingly more purposeful scribbling. Uses drawing and painting expressively. Uses horizontal scribbling to label drawings or imitate adults. Makes intentional impressions with different materials. Notices both words and pictures on a page. Labels pictures using scribble writing. Uses symbols or pictures as a representation of oral language. Demonstrates an understanding that we hear and see words by pointing randomly to text while it is being read out loud (a spoken word is also represented in print). Talks about the meaning of what is being written or drawn (e.g., “this is the dinosaur eating…”). May substitute object as symbol (use block as phone or car).

Caregiver Strategies: Provide child a variety of writing, drawing, and painting materials and time to experiment with them.Provide opportunities for child to use crayons, paint, and markers to express themselves and draw. When reading with child, point to initial letters - especially letters in the child’s name. When reading with child, point to pictures and words as they are read. Discuss with child the pictures they have created, focusing on the process of creating (e.g., “How did you make that big blue line?”). Read a variety of alphabet books with child, including books from different cultures. Draw attention to signs and symbols in the environment, (stop sign, Chinese writing on a Chinese restaurant sign). Provide opportunities for child to manipulate magnetic letters by naming the letters or using them to spell out simple words. Engage child in writing, scribbling, and drawing. Acknowledge their work and comment without trying to interpret.

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Goal 62: Children use writing skills and demonstrate knowledge of writing conventions.

Developmental Growth: Begin to use tools to write.

Child Indicators: Adjusts body position to facilitate writing. Holds paper with one hand while writing with the other hand. Copies vertical and horizontal lines. Makes circular motions with writing utensil. Uses a variety of writing tools.Begins to use fingers to hold writing tools instead of fist. Uses whole arm to make writing movement. Scribbles and make marks on paper purposefully. Names scribbles (tells others what scribbles mean). Pretends to write on paper, without regard to location or direction.

Caregiver Strategies: Provide opportunities for the child to draw. Model appropriate grasp of writing and drawing tools. Write and draw with a child exploring various mediums. Discuss and identify figures that the child draws (e.g., “That’s a circle.” “That’s a straight line.”).Write child’s comments at the bottom of drawings, collages, or photos. Engage child in writing in a variety of play settings. Provide opportunities for child to draw and paint in a variety of positions (while standing, outdoors on a hard surface, kneeling on floor).

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Goal 63: Children use writing for a variety of purposes.

Developmental Growth: Make scribbles and marks in Imitation of writing.

Child Indicators: Makes scribbles and pictures to share with others. Imitates the act of writing during play and familiar routines. Uses writing props during play. May request an adult to write name or message on their work.Recognizes some environmental print/symbols (stop sign). Asks adult to label pictures that he/she has drawn. Makes cards to give peers and significant adults, with assistance.

Caregiver Strategies: Write down what the child says regarding his/her own drawing.Work together to prepare written lists and notes, and model writing for various purposes. Provide a variety of tools, medium, and space for child’s expressive drawing. Provide props that promote writing opportunities (mailboxes, post office, shopping lists, notepad by play phone). Create projects with child that involve writing (make a pretend grocery store, label the products).Provide opportunities for child to observe you writing for meaningful purposes.

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36 - 60 Months

Goal 56: Children develop phonological awareness.

Developmental Growth: Manipulate phonemes to make new words and to rhyme.

Child Indicators: Discriminates sounds that are the same and different. Discriminates one sound out of many. Joins in and repeats rhyming songs, finger plays, and poems. Listens for a particular word or phrase. Fills in the missing rhyming word in a song or story.  Shows beginning understanding of rhyme and alliteration. Makes three or more letter-sound correspondences (e.g., identifies that “David,” “day,” and “dog” all begin with “d”). Finds objects in a picture with the same beginning sound, with assistance. Differentiates between similar- sounding words (three and tree).Fills in the missing rhyming word in a song or story. Begins to recognize the similar initial sounds of words that begin the same way (bug, bat, boy). Identifies the beginning sound of familiar words. Claps syllables of own name and of familiar words.

Caregiver Strategies: Engage child in sound discrimination activities (sound canisters). Engage child in rhythm activities. Listen for sounds and words in a book or story. Have child complete sentences in familiar and predictable books and stories (Brown Bear, Brown Bear; What Do You See?). Use music that emphasizes listening and responding. Use music for movement. Make up own silly songs and chants with the child. Play rhyming games, (e.g., “berry, hairy, scary” or rain, pain, lane”). Sing word songs, leaving out parts as you sing along (a dog BINGO, and in each consecutive paragraph leave out a letter but mark the spot with silence or a clap). When reading to child or children include them by involving them in the storytelling (omit a word that they fill in, encourage them to make appropriate sounds and hand motions, ask them to answer open-ended questions).Use structured opportunities to practice rhyming. Play sound matching and discrimination games. Use rhythm instruments to beat out syllables in words (drums, sticks, pans, spoons). Have child complete sentences in familiar and predictable books and stories. Use same activities for previous age group.

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Goal 57: Children demonstrate awareness of letters and symbols.

Developmental Growth: Recognize letters as special symbols to represent spoken language.

Child Indicators: Sings alphabet songs. Knows that letters are symbols with individual names. Begins to recognize letters in their name. Recognizes and identifies letters in the environment (fast-food restaurants, stop signs, local stores). Recognizes beginning letters in familiar words (Mom, classmates’ names). Names and recognizes several letters beginning with letters in their own name. Recognizes written name. Begins to recognize letters in familiar words and names them.Begins to make letter sound connections. Recognizes the difference between numbers and letters.

Caregiver Strategies: Encourage child to notice letters in their environment. Encourage child to experiment and play with letters. Provide alphabet letter in blocks and magnets. Make letters with a variety of materials (play dough, sand, shaving cream, blocks). Point out letters and symbols in the environment (fast-food restaurants, familiar cereal names/logos, local stores). Play letter games with child. Start with the beginning letter in the child’s name, their siblings, mom, dad, etc.   Point to objects in the environment that begin with the same letter.Read alphabet books with child. Solve alphabet puzzles with child.Immerse child in age-appropriate songs that focus on letter-sound recognition. Engage child in activities where he/she can manipulate and copy letters using different textures, tools, and mediums (let the child play with large sponge letters). Provide physical/motor activities to practice letter shapes (make letters with body parts, make a letter on the floor with yarn, chalk huge letters on pavement and walk around them). Identify letters in books. Comment on similarities and differences in letters. Post children’s names and pictures. Label areas in environment (table, chair, door). Provide “letter wall” to practice matching letters and word beginnings.

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Goal 58: Children demonstrate awareness of print concepts.

Developmental Growth: Know that languages and words can be in written form.

Child Indicators: Turns pages one at a time. Begins to read books from front to back. Enjoys following along as book is read. Imitates the act of reading a book by looking at pictures, reciting from memory, or retelling of familiar stories. Begins to understand that printed text carries meaning when read. Differentiates between print and pictures. Knows first and last page of a book. Identifies some individual letters in text (usually letters in name). Shows understanding that letters make up words. Recognizes front and back of book. Identifies or recognizes signs, symbols, or labels in the environment. Recognizes that written words represent spoken words. Shows general knowledge of how print works (know that name begins with a big letter). Identifies words that look similar and different, with assistance. Begins to understand that print progresses from left to right (exceptions are Arabic, Chinese, and Japanese text).

Caregiver Strategies: Read daily to child. Plan to read and re-read books with patterns and repetition. Share enthusiasm and love for reading. Encourage child to follow the text with movement, mime, or choral reading. Provide access to cookbooks, magazines, menus, and catalogues in play areas. Write child’s name to label personal items, cubby. Write child’s dictated stories and read back to them. Assist child in creating books and other printed materials in home language and other languages. When reading with child, use punctuation to create natural breaks (point to the period to indicate the end of the sentence). Keep a variety of fiction and non- fiction books, poetry, etc., where child can reach them and look through them.  Place books near couch, chairs, pillows, and or bed. Add books and print-rich material to all play areas (cookbooks and shopping lists in play kitchen, mechanic manuals with play cars). Provide books with tabs on each page to allow child with limited fine motor skills to turn pages. Provide opportunities and materials to create books; having children draw pictures and dictate text.

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Goal 59: Children demonstrate comprehension of printed materials and oral stories.

Developmental Growth: Understand information from oral stories, reading books, and pictures.

Child Indicators: Imitates the act of reading a book by looking at pictures, reciting from memory, or retelling of familiar stories. Orally fills in or completes familiar text when looking at picture books. Begins to make predictions for what comes next in the story.Explores characters in stories with puppets, dramatic play, and flannel board figures. Begins to make personal connections to character and events in a story. Uses pictures to predict a story. Matches pictures with spoken words in the home language. Recognizes own name when spelled out in letters. Recites some words in familiar books from memory. Identifies major characters in story. Begins to understand the sequence of a story (beginning, middle, and end). Makes up an ending for a story. Pretends to read a familiar book.Recognizes that oral language has a written counterpart (a spoken phrase can be written and read). Describes character and events in stories.Relates stories to real life experiences. Retells sequence of events in a story using illustrations in a book or literary props. Asks questions for clarification and further understanding.Recalls specific details or events in a story.

Caregiver Strategies: Read daily to child. Plan to read and re-read books with patterns and repetition. Share enthusiasm and love for reading. Provide child with literary props. Ask child to make predictions about a story and draw connections to themselves. Show the cover of a book and ask child to predict what will happen in the story. When reading or telling stories with child, change roles; have the child become the storyteller and “read” to you. When reading a favorite story with child, pause before an often-repeated word and give him/her the opportunity to say the word. Engage with child in retelling a recently read or listened to story. Assist child in illustrating verses from popular children’s songs. Engage child in looking at wordless picture books, tell the story in your own words, and then encourage child to tell their own version of the story based on the pictures. Encourage child to discuss their ideas, feelings, and opinions about a book or story.

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Goal 60: Children demonstrate awareness that written materials can be used for a variety of purposes.

Developmental Growth: Use books and written materials to gain information and enjoyment.

Child Indicators: Uses signs in the environment for information. Recognizes that print is read in stories. Uses maps, menus, cookbooks, and dictionaries during play. Uses printed materials for entertainment (pretending to read). Recognizes that different text forms have different purposes (grocery list is different than a written story). Finds information in books. Imitates common reading activities appropriately in play (pretends to use directions while putting something together, pretends to write a list or message). Realizes that letters and words represent ideas and feelings. Follows pictorial directions for cooking, assembling toys, and building models. Recognizes that printed materials have power (addresses, phone numbers, last name, knowledge).Selects books to read. Cares appropriately for books and pictures.

Caregiver Strategies: Read a variety of print including magazines, maps, menus, recipes, and environmental print. Make homemade books using logos, cereal box fronts, and other print forms. Play games using maps to find hidden treasures within the home or school. Use reference books to look up information in response to child’s questions (e.g., “I don’t know; let’s look it up.”). Use cookbooks with pictures instead of words to give a recipe. Provide opportunities for child to help put something together based on printed directions.  Let child help you and show the child the instructions. Provide opportunities for child to write and read messages to other children (put SAVE sign on a block or building bricks construction). Refer to repair manuals, menus, cookbooks, phone books, and internet sites for information; and place in play areas. Allow child to write letters and post cards to friends and family. Discuss different cultures and traditions in stories from different regions of the world. Re-read favorite stories.

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Goal 61: Children demonstrate knowledge and use of letters and symbols.

Developmental Growth: Begin to write and draw to communicate language.

Child Indicators: Uses horizontal scribbling with breaks or separate marks to represent writing. Creates representational drawings. Uses scribbling to represent their name. Knows the difference between printed letters and drawings.Attempts to copy one or more letters of the alphabet. Labels pictures using letter-like marks. Knows that alphabet letters are a special category of graphics that can be individually named. Identifies letters to match the said-aloud letter name. Works at writing own name. Shows awareness of the difference between own writing and conventional print. Shows awareness of two or more different writing systems (especially appropriate for ELL and bilingual/multilingual children).Uses pictures, symbols, and letters to convey meaning. Uses letters to represent sounds in words. Prints some alphabet letters for given letter names.

Caregiver Strategies: 

Provide a variety of writing and drawing tools with different kinds of paper (tablets, shopping lists, loose paper, sandpaper, etc.). Model writing by writing lists, letters, daily log of classroom activities, and notes stating the words as they are written. Encourage the use of creative spelling to label pictures, write name, and write notes to family and community members. Use the letters of the alphabet as they come up in real life situations. Call attention to names of children that begin with the same alphabet letter. Guide the child in writing his or her own name. Create games for child to pretend to be the letters of the alphabet and call out alphabet names.Draw letters in sand, shaving cream, finger paint, and play dough. Give child a special journal to write their name and draw pictures. Provide opportunities for child to write letters, lists, invitations, cards, and notes. Encourage child to describe their artwork and label it with letters to represent sounds they hear.

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Goal 62: Children use writing skills and demonstrate knowledge of writing conventions.

Developmental Growth: Use tools to write and draw

Child Indicators: Uses tripod grasp to hold writing tools. Begins to demonstrate hand preference for writing. Uses whole arm and finger movements to write. Intentionally scribbles to convey meaning; tells caregiver what it means. Makes strings of letters or marks from left to right. Begins to copy simple shapes. Draws a basic six (plus)-part person with some detail and content. Intentionally scribbles or writes to convey meaning. Uses invented spelling with letters and marks to represent words. Uses letter-like symbols to express an idea. Writes some letters or numerals. Prints or copies first name. Attempts to copy words from print. Draws basic geometric shapes (circle, triangle). Uses pretend writing activities during play to show print conventions in home language. Uses letters and symbols to label or convey directions (SV for Save sign on block building).

Caregiver Strategies: Model the process of drawing lines, circles, and stick figures. Provide a variety of art mediums (finger paint, poster paint with easel, pudding to paint with). Encourage appropriate grasp to hold writing and drawing tools. Encourage preferred hand for writing and drawing. Engage child in activities to develop fine motor control (clay, play dough, lacing boards, beads, stencils, lighted peg games, eye- droppers, tongs, and clothespins).  Cut child’s name into a puzzle and have them put it back together in proper order. Dictate child’s stories word for word and read it back. Provide an accessible writing area for child with smooth writing surface, writing tools, and paper. Provide paper and writing tools (and/or if you choose to use one, access to a computer) for child to use for specific purposes. Positively acknowledge child’s attempt to write.  Ask them to read you their words. Provide a “sign-in book” for child to sign in each day. Ask child to “sign” artwork, cards, and letters. Point out the shapes of individual letters to help child learn letters. Write down child’s dictations and read back exactly what he/she said (for English language learner, in both languages). Provide opportunities to talk about what child notices about two different writing systems (especially appropriate for ELL and bilingual/multilingual children). Provide a variety of writing materials in dramatic play areas, art area, with blocks, cars, etc.  Engage child in using materials (take orders for pizza using a notepad in the play kitchen, make tickets to see the art museum, write speeding tickets when playing with cars, draw and label a block structure when child is finished building it). Explain to child the reason we are writing something down (e.g. “We will write a list so that we know what to buy at the grocery store.”  “Let’s write a thank you note.”).

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Goal 63: Children use writing for a variety of purposes.

Developmental Growth: Make scribbles, pictures, and symbols with meaning.

Child Indicators: Makes scribbles and pictures to express an idea. Uses representational scribbles and marks during play. Asks an adult to label a picture. Uses letter-like symbols to make lists, letters, and stories. Copies some environmental print/symbols.Talks out loud about creative ideas and stories and asks adult to write them out. Asks adult to write out rhymes, or child’s invented song. Creates notes and messages for a purpose.

Caregiver Strategies: Model the process of drawing lines, circles, and triangles. Provide a variety of art mediums (finger paint, poster paint with easel, pudding to paint with).Encourage use of creative spelling to label pictures, write name, and write notes to family and community members. Write notes to the child and read them together. Write a story as a small group, writing down children’s exact ideas and words.

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Literacy, as defined in the Idaho Early learning eGuidelines, involves the ability to use language, symbols, and images in a variety of forms to read, write, listen, speak, represent, observe, and think critically about ideas.

60 Months - Kindergarten

Goal 56: Children develop phonological awareness.

Developmental Growth: Recognize individual sounds in words.

Child Indicators: Matches picture with articulated initial letter sound (matches the picture of a dog with the sound “d”). Begins to recognize vowel sounds, with assistance. Begins to blend individual letter sounds to make a new word, with assistance (e.g., “b” “a” “l”... what’s the word? “Ball.”). Recognizes which segment of a word is left off when spoken aloud, with assistance, (e.g., “picture,” and can recognize the “p” is left off when “icture” is said). When given a word (“man”) and a new beginning sound (“f”), can create the familiar word (“fan”).Divides words into syllables, with assistance. Begins to create and invent words by substituting one sound for another (dambaid for Band-Aid).

Caregiver Strategies: Speak clearly, more slowly, and articulate words to child. Demonstrate, explain, and provide opportunities for child to pronounce words correctly, enunciating each part of word clearly. Focus on parts of the word when presenting new words to child. Play listening games with child where he/she blends the onset (first part of a syllable) and rhymes (the ending part) into one word (r...an, m...an, then change it to r...ice, r...oad).

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Goal 57: Children demonstrate awareness of letters and symbols.

Developmental Growth: Attach meaning to letters and the sounds they make.

Child Indicators: Demonstrates understanding that letters have a name and a sound. Makes many letter/sound matches. Identifies a letter for a given letter name, for most letters. Recognizes letters in own name and the names of others. Correctly identifies ten or more letters of the alphabet.

Caregiver Strategies: Play simple word games.Point out the letters in the environment and ask child to identify them during daily routines (trip to the grocery store). Identify frequently used words in print and have child point to words and repeat (to, I, me). Fill a cookie tray or shallow box with a half-inch (½") of sand and help child draw letters in the sand as you say the letters. Provide child with a variety of books from diverse cultural backgrounds.

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Goal 58: Children demonstrate awareness of print concepts.

Developmental Growth: Demonstrate increasing skills in print directionality and understand that print holds meaning.

Child Indicators: Demonstrates how to follow text in proper order on a written page while reading or following along (for English:  left to right and top to bottom). Recognizes difference between letters and numbers. Identifies letters in first name. Points to the title of a book when asked. Reads familiar sight words (names on cereal boxes). Reads own first name and those of some peers. Reads some environmental print (bus). May recognize when something is written in his/her home language.

Caregiver Strategies: Demonstrate, explain, and provide opportunities for child to use books; introducing the parts of a book (title page, front and back covers). When reading with child, use punctuation to create natural breaks (e.g., “Let me finish this sentence before I answer your question.”  When the sentence is complete, point to the period to indicate the end of the sentence.).Use child-made books to identify parts of the book. Acknowledge child when he/she uses printed matter appropriately (looks at the picture on the cover page to find what the book is about). Provide a variety of printed materials including books in play areas (cookbooks, catalogues, junk mail, magazines). Provide opportunities and materials to create books; having child dictate story and then draw pictures. Label shelves and toy containers with picture and printed word; progress to print only.

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Goal 59: Children demonstrate comprehension of printed materials and oral stories.

Developmental Growth: Interpret information from stories and printed material.

Child Indicators: Knows that print conveys meaning. Compares stories with real life.Uses pictures to infer or predict meaning in text read aloud and/or shared with others. Uses strategies such as questioning or predicting to comprehend printed material. Recalls a story with some level of detail pertaining to the characters and setting.

Caregiver Strategies: Read part of the story in a book and ask child to predict how the story ends. Use simple stories to help child understand cause and effect (e.g., “Humpty-Dumpty broke into pieces.  I wonder what happened.”). Discuss the theme of the book or the “heart of the author’s message.” After reading text, allow time for child to discuss their ideas, feelings, and opinions about the book. Try to read/look up answers to questions with the child (e.g., for the question: “What should you wear today?” read the weather forecast in a printed form to find an answer).

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Goal 60: Children demonstrate awareness that written materials can be used for a variety of purposes.

Developmental Growth: Use books and written materials to expand knowledge and enjoy creative themes.

Child Indicators: Uses picture clues for information (attempts to predict weather by looking at picture of clouds and rain in newspaper or on television news). Recognizes function of common labels in the environment (restroom sign). Uses a simple cookbook, map, or similar printed material; with assistance. Makes up rhymes, word walls, and short stories

Caregiver Strategies: Engage child in writing letters and cards to friends or family. Talk about weather-related icons with child. Identify and talk about different cultures and traditions represented in stories and books from different regions of the world. Using a family recipe, cook and follow directions to demonstrate how useful and fun these written materials can be.  Write a recipe card/chart using pictures and words for child to follow. Promote family participation in literacy-related activities in both English and child’s home language (ask parents to read their favorite book in their home language to child). Refer to gardening books in the spring when planting seeds with the child. Place auto repair manuals in the car and truck play area.

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Goal 61: Children demonstrate knowledge and use of letters and symbols.

Developmental Growth: Use print for communication.

Child Indicators: Works to write own name. Recognizes several uppercase and lowercase letters. Prints some alphabet letters for given letter names. Writes some uppercase and lowercase letters, without assistance. Writes first names of others or some simple words. Writes some simple words on paper after adult segments words into individual sounds, out loud (c – l – a – p  =  clap). Recognizes initial letters in their names and titles of books.

Caregiver Strategies: Print an uppercase letter on one shape and its matching lowercase letter on another of the same shape.  Show child how to match the shapes, thereby matching the letters. Model appropriate uppercase and lowercase letters while writing. Adapt the game “I Spy” to help child locate uppercase and lowercase letters. Provide opportunities for child to practice writing letters of the alphabet (ask child to help in making signs, or help address an envelope). Provide opportunities for child to write letters, lists, or notes. Help child make his or her own letter books with pictures. Point to the initial letters of words when reading a book and make the sound that corresponds with the letter.

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Goal 62: Children use writing skills and demonstrate knowledge of writing conventions.

Developmental Growth: Use tools to copy and write shapes and letters.

Child Indicators: Uses writing tool with tripod grasp. Uses multiple writing tools to create pictures. Copies shapes and letters.Uses invented spelling with letters and marks to represent words. Imitates common writing activities in play (letters, cards, menus). Uses multiple writing tools (paint, crayons, pencils, and/or pens) to create a picture. Adjusts grasp to size of writing tool. Demonstrates beginning of creative writing by using invented spelling and/or pictures to express an idea or story.

Caregiver Strategies: Engage child in activities to develop fine motor control (clay, play dough, lacing boards, beads, stencils, lighted peg games, and clothespins). Cut child’s name into a puzzle and have them put it back together in proper order. Dictate child’s stories word for word and read it back. Provide an accessible writing area for child with smooth writing surface, writing tools, and paper. Provide opportunities for child to develop projects that involve writing (producing a newspaper or trip journal on a family trip).

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Goal 63: Children use writing for a variety of purposes.

Developmental Growth: Assign meaning to writing attempts.

Child Indicators: Creates notes and messages for a purpose. Dictates stories and ideas. Shares writing with others. Imitates common writing activities in play (writing letters, cards, newspaper). Writes simple expressions in greeting cards and letters (Hi, Hello). Demonstrates beginning of creative writing by using inventive spelling and/or pictures to express an idea or story.

Caregiver Strategies: Provide opportunities for child to write letters and make greeting cards for relatives and friends. Make a storybook with child that includes both their pictures and words. Assist child in making labels for different sets of objects (cooking utensils, shoes).

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