Programs that promote pre-literacy and language development skills in children from birth to age five with the objective of preparing them to read. Program activities are both educational and social and focus on helping participants develop oral language skills, expand their vocabulary, develop the concept of a word, have exposure to printed words and connect them to stories, develop phonological and phoneme awareness (sounds associated with letters and words), and recognize letters of the alphabet and connect them to words. Specific activities that promote early literacy development include reading aloud, summarizing stories read, conversations and dialogue, learning new words, exposure to books, rhyming and singing, imitating sounds, identifying syllables, writing and naming letters, attaching sounds to letters, and recognizing words. Counting and elementary math may also be incorporated. Programs may be formal or informal, and may include parent participation. Classes are often held at schools, churches, libraries and community recreation centres.
The above terms and definitions are part of the Taxonomy of Human Services, used here by permission of INFO LINE of Los Angeles.