Take advantage of our free parent-child literacy activities

We are very fortunate that our colleagues Angela Notari-Syverson, Judy Challoner, and others have given us permission to distribute their work. As part of a model development grant from the U.S. Department of Education Angela, Judy and their colleagues developed a series of parent-child literacy activities for preschool children.

The activities describe simple, fun activities for adults and young children that promote literacy and language development. Each activity is followed by “hints” that help parents adapt the activity to the developmental level of the child. The activities are appropriate for children with disabilities as well as children who are developing typically. They provide excellent follow-up activities for Language is the Key.

We have translated many of the materials so you reach out to parents who are English language learners.

Here is an example of one of the 90 activities available for free download.          

Sample Activity: Talking about things outside 

Talking to children about what they see or hear teaches them new words.

Ask your child questions about things he/she sees outside: 

  • What color is it?
  • What do you see?
  • How does it feel? 
  • What shape is this? 
  • What does that remind you of?
  • How would it look if it was snowing?

Hints for talking about things outside

To help your child succeed, you can:

  • Talk about something your child can touch and feel. 
  • Ask your child questions about things he/she is really interested in (rocks, mud, butterflies). 
  • Ask your child simple questions (Is this rock smooth?)
  • Help your child to describe things with more than one word (brown, smooth, hard).

To make this activity more challenging, you can:

  • Describe something nearby and see if your child can find it.  Have your child describe something for you and try to find it. 
  • Play with your child at putting things into categories (beetles are insects, an acorn is a nut, a rose is a flower).
  • Talk about how things would look different in other weather conditions, or times of the day.
  • Ask your child to imagine how things would look different if your child were the size of an ant.

See the complete collection of free literacy resources.