Why is early childhood development so important in society? And how does language use in the home affect the acquisition of literacy? In order to answer these questions one must first understand that the language spoken at home is primary to any language spoken outside a young child’s environment. According to (Elman et al., 1998). Environmental factors influence brain development in ways that affect children’s learning behavior.
Parents who support their child’s development through processes such as, providing emotional support, reciprocal communication and cognitive stimulation helps develop early learning and growing independence (Ainsworth, Blehar, Walters & Wall, 1978; Olson ates, & Bayles, 1984;Wertsch 1979). This means that parents who begin interacting with their children academically at an early age are more likely to mature their reading and writing comprehension levels quicker than those parents who don’t.
The period between birth and the time when children learn to read and write conventionally is known as “Emergent Literacy”. The term emergent literacy signals a belief that, in a literate society, young children are in the process of becoming literate (Emergent Literacy project, n.d). The first two years of a young child’s life are the most crucial in developing their motor skills as well as their ability to read and write at their respective levels.
There are four main stages in achieving literacy: Emergent, Early, Early Fluent, and Fluent. The earliest stage, Emergent literacy, consists of the awareness of the consistent language and the skills, knowledge and attitudes that are the precursors to reading and writing (Whitehurst and Lonigan, 1998: 848). Parents must know that learning to read and write does not just happen naturally. We are not preprogrammed for reading and writing. We must learn the skills and practice them. That is how we become literate.
The second phase of Emergent Literacy, according to experts, is the...