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This post is part of my 6×6 series on encouraging literacy in children from birth to five.

2014-05-25 21.36.42Narrative skills are critical to learning to read. Narrative skills are the ability to describe events, of a story or of the day, in a logical order. Kids need to understand that stories are made up of beginnings, middles, and ends. Understanding how sequence works can improve and aid their comprehension as they gain literacy.

So the question is, how can we help our children gain this skill? As always, there are many different activities you can use to build these skills with your children. You can start with simple things like sitting down and talking with your toddler about the plans for the day. What will you be doing in the morning? Where will you go after lunch? Will you take a walk before dinner? Your tiny ones will benefit from sitting with you while you tell them about your day. Older toddlers should be able to sit down at the end of the day and tell you what they did throughout the day.

Ask them if they remember what story you read first this morning during snack. Any questions that get them thinking about things that happened in a sequence. Have them talk you through what they did a day care or preschool that morning and ask them what their favorite thing was. Practice numbers and counting, have them sort toys and objects like different colored blocks, and toys that are particular shapes. If you have dramatically inclined children, encourage them to act out stories. Help them dress up and walk through the story in order. Ask questions about what you read that require more than a yes or no answer. At the end of a story ask them if they remember the beginning.

Basically, it’s a good idea to tell stories about everything

Information for this post and other 6×6 posts is adapted from the 6×6 READY TO READ cards provided by the State Library of Kansas through a grant from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services.