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Building Blocks : Early Literacy @ Home


We had the opportunity to run two phases of the pilot Building Blocks programme, supported by Temasek Foundation, for parents of children aged 1-3 to learn how to build their toddler’s early literacy skills at home. 


Parents or caregivers that participate in Building Blocks join a closed Facebook group where we share the components of early literacy, as well as easily actionable, hands-on tips that the participants can use to develop their children’s pre-reading skills at home. Each family received an Early Literacy Kit comprising multi-use toys, a story book and a teaching tool that they could use with guidance from demo videos on the Facebook Group. Topics covered include enhancing vocabulary, building early phonological awareness and shared book reading.

building blocks programme

Phase 1 ran from March 2020 to May 2020, during the “Circuit Breaker” period, and had 86 parents participating.  Phase 2 ran from October 2020 to January 2021 and was scaled up to just over 500 participants. Phase 2 also presented a wider range of content, and greater age-specification. 


Hear how participants found Building Blocks here:
> Phase 1 interviews

> Phase 2 interviews

The videos shared deepened my understanding of reading strategies such as phonemic awareness in a multi-sensory manner.

It started out with a very nice basic slogan of “15 minutes a day, 3 times a week” which I really liked because that was very important and basically needed for everything.

Building Blocks helped me find out more about my son, such as what attracts him, his likes and dislikes, his strengths and his interests.

The programme was useful because I participated during the circuit breaker; it was a lifesaver!

I think this programme set the stage for us to start trying and putting things into practice, to get into a routine. 

My daughter was so excited upon receiving the learning kit! I had a great time reading the booklet and watching all the tips and videos which were uploaded! It really taught me how to engage my daughter, do some simple diy activities to
simply reading a book to her! My 2 year old daughter can also have a simple conversation with me now! It is so amazing to see how fast they learnt!

The programme was a great way for me to be intentional in setting time aside for my child, and I felt empowered to be able to interact meaningfully and purposefully with him as the resources provided were very useful! I appreciate the work put in by the team to help us be better parents, and to continually provide resources for us to learn.



Early literacy involves the development of pre-reading skills, usually before the child starts formal schooling (*i.e. K1).  These “emergent literacy” skills include alphabet knowledge, phonological awareness, print knowledge, vocabulary and oral language.


Emergent literacy skills build a foundation for learning (reading and writing) that is important for your child’s subsequent language and cognitive development. To help the child develop emergent literacy these skills, parents can put in place a literacy-rich environment filled with meaningful activities. Active involvement and support from caregivers will also help the child understand, practise, and improve on these skills.

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