Activities that involve letter recognition, art, pretend play, nursery rhymes and storytelling all help toddlers and preschoolers develop the skills they need to learn to read. Children begin developing reading and writing skills at the same time that language skills develop, and this process typically starts in early infancy. Social interactions with adults and other children, routine reading time with caregivers, and everyday activities, such as grocery shopping, outdoor exploration and free play, naturally aid in literacy and language development.
Online resources such as Starfall.com contain good activities to help teach letter recognition and phonics. The site introduces letters and sounds to toddlers through interactive videos and music. Preschoolers learn to recognize words and sentences, and they have access to interactive games that reinforce emerging literacy skills.
Coloring, painting and craft projects help children develop the fine motor skills needed for writing. These activities also provide preschoolers and toddlers with an outlet for creative expression, which helps build language and communication skills. Pretend play and storytelling have similar effects, and all of the activities have a direct impact on literacy development in early childhood.
Nursery rhymes, finger plays and sing-along songs usually contain repetitive patterns that help children develop a better understanding of oral language. This provides toddlers and preschoolers with a strong foundation for developing reading and writing skills.