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. The “Every Child Ready to Read” programs based on this research were developed by the Public Library Association and the Association for Library Services to Children (divisions of the American Library Association).
Using matching games, finger plays, songs, picture books, and many other fun activities, the Massillon Public Library’s Story Times and programs spotlight five very important, yet simple, everyday practices that can lead to reading and school success in children. These activities are: singing, talking, reading, playing, and writing.
Librarians provide tips and ideas for parents and other caregivers to incorporate these simple practices into their interactions with their children. The library can also give examples of how to help children learn the skills, provide titles of high-interest books that are age appropriate, and send parents and childcare providers home with fun early literacy activities they can incorporate into their daily routines.
When adults use the five common practices above, children will naturally pick up very important skills, which studies have shown will help them read more easily and have more success throughout their school careers.
When children see adults interacting with all kinds of printed material (books, magazines, newspapers, etc.), they develop this same love for reading as well.
When adults tell children stories, kids naturally begin to mimic the adult’s intonations—the ups and downs of voice animation that make listening to a story fun.
When children listen to adults talk or read to them, they begin to imitate the varying sounds that make up words, eventually learning to pronounce words. Also, when adults talk and read to children, they use some words that are not yet part of a child’s vocabulary. As the child grows and develops, they begin using these words, then, as they begin to understand their meaning, these words become part of the child’s vocabulary.
The critical pre-reading skills are:
- Print Motivation: a child’s interest in and enjoyment of books.
- Phonological Awareness: ability to recognize that words are made up of a variety of sound units.
- 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.
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 more information, contact Laura Klein at 330.832.5037, or via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Massillon Public Library is located at 208 Lincoln Way East. The Second Street entrance is handicapped accessible.