Skip to Main Content

Early Literacy for Families

Prepare your child for success in reading, school and life with these resources from San Antonio Public Library's early literacy program.

Why writing?

Writing and reading go together. Writing helps children learn that letters and words stand for sounds and that print has meaning.

Writing helps children learn about print, letters, phonological awareness, vocabulary, and narrative skills.

Gel Writing Board Tutorial

Looking for a fun and easy way to help keep your little one's fingers busy this summer? Try this cheap and easy gel writing board: perfect for the car ride, waiting at the doctor's office, or just for when you feel like challenging your child to a game of tic-tac-toe. This gel board can be made with items you might already have in your home. So look over the supplies list, raid your bathroom and junk drawer and follow our step by step instructions to make your very own gel board. Warning: you may want to make more than one,  parents and older siblings tend to like to play with this writing board just as much as the littles.
How can my child benefit from a gel writing board?
Science skills: Have your child help you add the hair gel and food coloring to the bag. After you have mostly sealed the bag, lay the foam core board or white sheet of paper under the bag and let your child use their hands to spread the gel and watch the gel and food color mix. The effect is awesome when you add multiple colors and watch them mix as they spread the gel evenly inside the bag.
Language: As you work together making the board read the directions aloud and allow your child to help along the way. As your child is spreading the gel and watching the colors mix, ask them what they see happening. Support and extend their language and the concepts they are learning: color mixing, blending, fading, spreading. Use the board to leave notes or simple messages for your family and friends.
Fine motor skills: Every opportunity your child gets to use their hands is helping them strengthen their fine motor skills and is building connections in their brains. Even if your child is simply poking at the board, rather than using their finger to drag across the surface to draw or make marks, they are strengthening their fine motor skills while building upon their previous experiences.
One thing that really gets children excited about an activity is how much interest and enthusiasm their adult brings to it. If you love the activity, your child will love it too, and remember, playing together is a great way to learn.