It is no secret that literacy is an important aspect of early childhood development, but at what age should children be introduced to reading and writing? Much of society, even early childhood teachers, takes a Maturationist approach to literacy. This results in a potentially dangerous lack of cognitive development, which can overall affect the child’s comprehension negatively. There is a plethora of information and research that challenges the Maturationist theory in regards to literacy development in early childhood. In “Learning to Read and Write: Developmentally Appropriate Practices for Young Children,” it states that “researchers found that three-year-old children’s knowledge of nursery rhymes specifically related to their more abstract phonological knowledge later on.” There should not be an age restriction or recommendation at which children should be introduced to literacy. From the time a child is born (and debatably before) they are working towards language acquisition; from “babbling” as a baby to mimicking words they hear as a toddler, they are ultimately working towards the same goal, the ability to communicate effectively. The introduction of literacy into the child’s life will assist in the child in drawing phonemic relationships quicker resulting in a stronger literary knowledge that can be used to strengthen other aspects of the child’s knowledge acquisition. The acquisition of literacy not only strengthens the child’s understanding of language and grammar, but will aid the child in comprehension of other subjects such as history, or even math and science. The most important thing about literacy being introduced at the younger ages is to make sure not to stray outside of the child’s comprehension of the outside world.
Not every child has the luxury of being introduced to language and literacy properly, and at an early age. For example, children of low-income households may not be exposed to proper literacy outside, or possibly even inside...
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