Home Literacy Environment Checklist

Posted on February 10 2020

Home Literacy Environment Checklist

See how your home reading environment stacks up with this checklist containing all the essentials for success.

Establishing a cozy reading area is an essential part of creating a successful home literacy environment. Learning starts at home, which means that some of your child’s first experiences with reading and writing will happen here. One way to encourage these early learning experiences is by setting up a literacy-friendly environment in your home that encourages your child to explore and thrive. So, what should you have in your home literacy environment? We created the following checklist with tips and ideas in these four categories:

• Establishing a reading area
• Literacy materials for your home
• Literacy activities for you and your child
• Literacy behavior to model

Continue reading to learn different ideas and tips for each category of establishing a successful home literacy environment.

Establishing a reading area

Creating a comfortable area for your children to read is an essential part of establishing a home literacy environment. Try these tips to set up reading area that will encourage your children to continually explore books.
  • Designate a cozy spot
Establishing a “cozy” area of the house for reading can help you and your child comfortably enjoy reading time. This designated area can also help cut down on distractions and keep your child focused.
  • Set up comfortable seating
Setting up a comfy spot to sit is an important part of establishing a reading area. If you hope to have your child spend lots of time there, a comfy chair, cushion, or sofa can make all the difference.
  • Establish proper lighting

Ensure there is enough natural light, in addition to overhead and task lighting. Good lighting is a vital part of creating a home literacy reading environment that will keep your little reader engaged.

Literacy materials for your home

Once you have your reading area set up, it’s time to focus on substance. You’ll want to have a variety of literacy materials available to your child, so they have plenty to explore.
  • Books
Whether you get them from the library, a bookstore, or a friend or family member, stock your space with books in different genres and styles, so your child can continually explore their changing interests. Add new books frequently so there’s always something fresh and exciting.
  • Front-facing bookshelves
Front-facing bookshelves have a lip where you stack the books onto the shelf so that the cover faces forward, not just the spine. You can purchase this type of shelf or try one of the many do-it-yourself options. Ensuring that young readers can see the covers of each book can help catch their attention and encourage them to explore.
  • Reading tools for kids
To help young readers with fluency, comprehension, and speech, stock your reading environment with kid-friendly reading tools. The Toobaloo is a tube-shaped whisper phone that encourages instant auditory feedback, while the Eye Lighter is a ruler-shaped instrument that helps with eye-tracking.
  • Writing materials
Scrap paper with pens, pencils, crayons, markers – and any other favorite writing materials – can help encourage your child to draw pictures of stories, draft a journal entry, or otherwise write or draw about the stories and subjects they’re reading.
  • Labels

Labeling items is another helpful addition to your home literacy environment that can be a fun way to encourage your children to read as they carry out their daily activities. Consider placing labels on toy, food, or clothing bins – it may have your child practicing their reading without even noticing!

Literacy activities for you and your child

Now that you have the designated area and materials needed for a thriving literacy home environment, let’s discuss the different activities you can try together.
  • Practice the alphabet
Learning the alphabet is a fundamental part of your child’s literacy journey. Why not make it fun and engaging? Singing or saying the alphabet together can turn a learning experience into a fun family activity.
  • Play word games
Mix in a variety of word-focused board and card games to help engage your child. Games like Bananagrams, Scrabble, and Catchphrase can help teach vocabulary, spelling, and other literacy skills. Your child might not even realize they’re learning because they’re having so much fun!
  • Visit the library

Making regular trips to the library can help establish your child’s love for reading and writing. It’s a great place to pick up new books for your reading environment and participate in other literacy-promoting activities that you can incorporate at home.

Literacy behaviors to model

Children tend to model their behavior after the adults around them, especially their parents. Here are a few literacy-promoting routines to incorporate into your home literacy environment:
  • Read where your child can see you
When your child sees you reading, the chances are good that they’ll want to read too. Consider designating time every day or week for individual family reading time.
  • Use a wide vocabulary

Using a robust vocabulary at home can help your child pick up new words. Try using interesting words in everyday conversation, like a tart apple or a mischievous cat.

This checklist containing tips and ideas for establishing your home literacy environment can help your child develop critical and practical reading skills for years to come. Check out our blog to learn more about setting your child up for literary success.


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