Early Literacy Workshops

Early Literacy Workshop: Intro to 5 Foundations of Early Literacy

This was a workshop I conducted at a local school with parents of children ages around 3-5. The following is my outline of discussion for the workshop as well as the fun activity we did at the end.

Outline for Family Literacy Workshop

Welcome, Intros

What is early literacy? (Discussion)

Definition: Early literacy is what a child knows about reading and writing before they have the ability to read and write ex: scribbling with a crayon, recognizing shapes

5 Foundations of Literacy? (Discussion)

Read, Write, Talk, Sing, Play (I like to sing it to a beat, drum on table, helps us remember)

  • Read—read together, develops literacy skills, no X amount of time per day, okay to read book okay to repeat books, not finish a book, talk about pictures only, at this age we focus on development of LOVE of reading
  • Write—develops fine motor skills making it easier for child to hold a pencil, type etc
  • Talk—vocab skills, language skills, storytelling skills, social skills, word identification
  • Sing—singing slows down words so that its easier to understand vocabulary, also introduces children to rhythm
  • Play—develops, vocab, language skills and especially problem solving skills, gross motor skills

Silly Song Break! For this workshop we sang The Bananas Unite Song and Snake in the Grass. These can be found in my favorite songs section.

Today our activity will focus on the skill of writing.

Before a child excels at writing they develop fine motor skills, small hand movements that help with things later on such as writing and holding scissors.

What are some things you can do at home for writing skills?

  • Encourage scribbling by providing many opportunities to write and draw. Keep crayons and paper on a table where children can return again and again.
  • Get magnetic letters for the refrigerator or make letters from cardboard for the children to play with.
  • Have them sign their drawings to develop hand-eye coordination and build up their writing muscles. Children also begin to understand that writing represents words.
  • Talk about what they draw, have them make up stories or write captions for their drawings so they make the connection between written and spoken language.

Today we will be using easy to find at home materials to make a fun activity that your children can play with and that you can use to play with them. This activity will help your child develop those all important fine motor skills!  As an added bonus, this activity, like many that you already do at home, covers many of the early literacy skills such as play, write, and talk when you engage with your child!

Activity: Gel Bags


  • Clear hair gel
  • Quart sized freezer ziploc bags
  • Odds and ends (beads, pennies, old jewelry, pom poms, glitter)
  • Duct tape


  • Add gel generously into one ziploc bag, then add your odds and ends
  • Close first bag, duct tape, then place upside down into second bag
  • Duct tape second bag closed for added protection against leak
  • Smush away!

Extension activity:

Tape an X or O to the bag, challenge your child to get a particular item into the middle of the O!

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