Grandparents contribute to early literacy

Great for hugs, devotion and sharing their time, grandparents have a lot to contribute to children’s early literacy. Seniors Month in October is the perfect time to bring together different generations and cultures and, to celebrate the essential role that older people play in society.

Young people learn and grow through close, caring relationships with the adults in their lives. Grandparent’s focused attention, interaction, and unconditional love creates the perfect environment for children to learn early literacy building activities including playing games, talking, reading, and sharing stories and family and cultural traditions.

Help develop your little ones early literacy by narrating the things you do as you go about your day. When visiting the park or wandering around in the backyard, talk about the names of the trees, how tall they are and how each one is different.  Spot butterflies, birds and insects and talk about their similarities and differences. Cook together and share the tasks, read the recipe together, measure the ingredients and talk about the cooking process.

There are so many words to share when cooking together.

Don’t’ forget to ask plenty of open-ended questions as you go and allow children to respond in their own time. Everyday activities provide so many opportunities for children to learn new words.

Tell stories

Children love to listen to stories whether they’re made up on the spot, one about them, or listening to you read their favourite book. Picture books are full of great words children often don’t hear in their everyday.  

Share stories in your own language, this is a great way to model the skills they need to learn to read. Keep in touch using Skype or Facetime if you’re separated during COVID. Hearing lots of words is essential for early literacy development.

Grandparents and other seniors, with rich life experiences, can provide support, role modelling, and encouragement for the young people in their lives

Play doesn't have to involve expensive toys! Make do with the things you have at home. 

More ideas to help grandparents get involved:

Share a song

Introduce children to your favourite music from The Beatles to Frank Sinatra. Explain new words as you go and talk about music, the instruments and the beat, how some music is soft and some is LOUD! Singing helps break down words into syllables and build the foundations of language.

Hobbies and skills

If you’re good at knitting, sewing, gardening or woodworking share your skills. Talk about the tools you use and what they’re used for. Explain how saws have teeth and how knitting needles come in different sizes, and the steps involved. Don’t be afraid to use big words. Encourage your Grandchildren share their skills with you and help build their confidence.

The day-to-day

Encourage children to take part in routine tasks such as shopping, gardening, or household chores like folding the washing. Talk about what you’re doing as you go, so they learn new words and life skills.

Library fun

Children are never too young to join the library! Libraries have so many free and fun things to offer, from books to read, activities such as rhyme time, cosy reading areas, and toys and games to spark their language. Make a visit to your local library part of your regular routine together.

Enjoy the time you spend together and remember that while you’re playing and having fun with your grandchildren, you’re nurturing your relationship and helping them build the skills they need for life.


We welcome relevant, respectful comments.
Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.
We also welcome direct feedback via Contact Us.
You may also want to ask our librarians.

Be the first to write a comment