Literacy Stage: 3 – 4 Years Old

Building on the previous literacy stage, children aged 3-4 years will continue to develop certain skills.  However, it is important to keep in mind that children will vary in how they develop and learn – don’t panic if a child does not develop certain skills within each literacy stage. Instead, begin a discussion with your doctor regarding any delayed skill development, if you are concerned, and continue to observe your child.

Most 3-4 year olds should be able to:

  • identify familiar signs and labels / local environment print (e.g. traffic signs, restaurant names, etc.)
  • enjoy talking about their favorite storybooks; make up stories on their own
  • connect information / events in storybooks with their own life
  • distinguish that it is the print that is read in stories
  • question or comment about parts of a story (demonstrating understand of literal meaning)
  • recognize at least 10 alphabet letters (particularly from their own name) and make a connection with what they sound like (the beginning of phonemic awareness or phonics)
  • participate in rhyming games
  • use their best attempt at writing letters to represent written language that has meaning (e.g. “I love you”, “mommy”, “daddy”)
  • understand that print is used in many different ways (e.g. writing a shopping list, reading a book)
  • use new words (expanding their vocabulary) and experiment with grammar (e.g. “I not” will eventually become “I won’t”)
  • recognize and follow oral directions
  • continue to scribble messages (pre-writing) as part of playful activity