Ready to Read Workshops

Research has shown that children need to know six literacy skills before they can learn to read. Children who enter kindergarten with these skills learn to read more easily and are more successful throughout school.

“Reading to children from the time they are babies is the best way to help them develop reading readiness skills along with a love of reading,” said Laura Klein, Children’s Services Manager. “As parents and other caregivers read and talk about books, they help children learn the six critical pre-reading skills.”

Each of the “Massillon Ready To Read” workshops introduces the six skills and explains why they are so important to learning to read, gives examples of how to help children learn the skills, provides titles of high-interest books that are age appropriate, and sends parents and childcare providers home with fun early literacy activities they can incorporate into their daily routines.

The workshops are based on research about early brain development and how children learn. “We know, for example, that children up to age three or four are much better at hearing the different sounds that make up words, a skill called phonological awareness,” said Laura Klein.  “Most children who have difficulty reading have trouble with phonological awareness. We need to help children play with the sounds in words at ages two, three and four when their ability to distinguish between sounds is so acute.”

One of the best ways to do this is by reading nursery rhymes and singing songs with rhyming words. Each of the “Massillon Ready To Read” workshops uses rhymes to help teach phonological awareness. Librarians match the program’s books and activities to children’s ages and abilities.

In addition to phonological awareness, the critical pre-reading skills are:

  • Print Motivation: a child’s interest in and enjoyment of books.
  • Letter Knowledge: knowing that letters are different from each other and that they have different names and sounds.
  • Vocabulary: knowing the names of things.
  • Narrative Skills: the ability to describe things and events and tell stories.
  • Print Awareness: noticing print everywhere, knowing how to handle a book and knowing how to follow the words on a page.

According to the Public Library Association and the Association for Library Services to Children (the divisions of the American Library Association that developed the “Every Child Ready To Read” programs), parents and other caregivers are in the best position to help young children learn these skills because:

  • Young children have short attention spans. Parents and caregivers can engage children in language and literacy activities for short bits of time throughout the day.
  • Parents know their children best and can help them learn in ways and at times that are easiest for them.
  • Adults are tremendous role models — children are more likely to want to read if they see that their parents and caregivers value and enjoy reading.

For details about upcoming “Massillon Ready To Read” programs, as well as other materials and resources for parents and caregivers, contact Laura Klein at 330.832.5037.