If your little one is heading to Prep in 2022, then this blog is for you. We are going to discuss what literacy (aka reading and writing) skills will help your child succeed in Prep and how you can help them develop these skills at home.  

Literacy Skills in 3-4 Year Olds

At 3-4 years of age children develop many skills necessary to build a strong foundation for learning to read and write once they enter school. By the time a child is starting Prep they should be able to (Reading Rockets, 2020): 

  1. Enjoy having story books read to them and enjoy talking about the stories.  
  2. Pick up and hold a book the right way (e.g., cover facing up, spine to the left, words the right way).
  3. Understand that the print in books has meaning and that it goes from left to right.
  4. Make attempts to read and write.  
  5. Identify familiar print in the environment (e.g., McDonald’s sign, Stop sign, Woolies sign).
  6. Have fun playing rhyming games and making rhymes.
  7. Identify some letters and match them to the sounds they spell.  
  8. Write (or their best attempt to write) letters for meaningful words (e.g., names)

Why Do Literacy Skills Matter?

Learning to read and write is the main focus of the first 4 years of schooling. The literacy skills described above are important as they lay the ground work for learning to read and write. Having the foundational skills required for learning to read and write sets your child up for success when they get to school. We know that the ability to read and write is linked to better long term outcomes in education, jobs, and social skills.  

How Can You Help? 

Many of the skills listed above are sometimes referred to as phonological awareness skills or the manipulate sounds in words. See our blog post here for more information and ideas to build phonological awareness!

Another great way to increase literacy skills is by reading. Read to your child often and when you do read try using some of the following strategies to increase engagement and literacy skills: 

  1. Use an expressive voice and face while reading – this adds excitement and life to the story.  
  2. Take turns – have your child ‘read’ the story – practice retelling familiar stories.  
  3. Point at big, bolded or interesting print on the pages – drag your finger under the print as you read it to help link the meaning to the print and show the left to right order of reading.  
  4. Point out familiar letters in books – then point out familiar words and letters around your home and community.  
  5. Read rhyming books and point out the rhymes to you child as you read – you can even try making up new rhyming words as you go.
  6. Let your child see you read – sharing enjoyment of reading will help encourage your child to love reading too!

If you use these strategies at home you will be sure to help you child develop those essential literacy readiness skills for Prep. If you have concerns about your child’s literacy development don’t hesitate to contact us here at Active Speech Pathology. We are always happy to answer questions and help out!


Reading Rockets (2020). Literacy Milestones Ages 3-4. Retrieved from https://www.readingrockets.org/article/literacy-milestones-ages-3-4