The Road to Reading Starts at the Library
by Karen Mack, Youth Services Librarian
Sedona AZ (October 18, 2011) – The Sedona Public Library is, among many other things, a center for early childhood literacy. Because public libraries serve children for years before they begin school we have many opportunities to provide early literacy and learning experiences.
Early literacy is what children know about reading before they actually read. Many research studies, including the 2000 National Assessment for Educational Progress, found that a significant percentage of children were entering kindergarten without the early literacy skills needed to learn to read.
In response to these findings, in 2004 the Association for Library Service to Children and the Public Library Association, divisions of the American Library Association, developed Every Child Ready to Read @ your library (ECRR). This early literacy initiative was developed in partnership with national researchers and leading educational experts.
Last month I attended an ECRR training session and plan to use what I have learned and share the information with interested parents and caregivers of children birth through age five.
Research shows that early childhood experiences have a great impact on a child’s ability to learn language and literacy skills. Something as simple as playing peek-a-boo is a learning experience. Experts have identified essential early literacy or pre-reading skills that most children develop as they get ready to become a reader:
- Print awareness
- Letter Knowledge
- Narrative Skills
- Phonological Awareness
- Print Motivation
Parents, grandparents and other caregivers can help their young children develop these skills by incorporating learning activities into their daily parent/child interaction. These activities focus on talking, singing, reading, writing and playing, and are fun and easy to use. One simple example of a ‘talking practice’ is to make up your own rhyming words. Take a simple word like “fish”. Ask your child to create new words by changing the sound at the beginning of a word: mish, wish, kish, dish, tish. You can make it a game by counting the new words or taking turns. Talk about which are real words.
To learn more about the six essential early literacy skills and the ECRR research-based practices please drop by the Children’s Room of the Sedona Library. Every Child Ready to Read brochures, activity handouts and library programs are available. They will give parents and caregivers enjoyable early literacy activities to incorporate into everyday family routines.
Parents can give children a tremendous advantage in school and in life by helping prepare them for future reading success. Please feel free to contact Karen Mack in the Youth Services department of the Sedona Public Library with any questions or comments, 928-282-7714, and don’t forget to check the events calendar for upcoming children’s programs.