Low literacy rates are not just a concern locally. It is a nationwide problem. If a child is not ready for kindergarten when they start school, statistically, there is a very good chance they will never catch up. Identifying children who may need extra help before they reach school has always been difficult. Parents may not realize the importance of reading to their children or how to encourage early literacy skills in their children through play. They also may not be aware of different services available to them.
At a recent Public Library Association conference many libraries discussed different methods their communities have tried to improve literacy rates. One way was to encourage people to speak to their neighbors with young children, letting them know what their local library can offer them such as free story times, books and educational material as well as other local resources. The Moline Public Library would also like to suggest giving out an Imagination Library form. When signing up their child under the age of 5 for this program, each child receives a book every month for free. If you pick up this form at our Children’s Desk, you may also pick out a United Way paperback book from our cart to give with the enrollment card. This will give the parent an idea of what to expect and is a nice gift to get them started. This simple gift is a great way to get a child started with those all-important literacy skills.
Together, we can make a difference.
Humpy Dumpty sat on a wall…
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall….
Can you complete the rhyme? We find that many adults are not familiar with children’s nursery rhymes anymore, but there are good reasons that they should be!
Learning nursery rhymes help children develop language and vocabulary – and help them form the foundation for learning to rhyme words on their own. Many nursery rhymes also contain phrases that start with words that all have the same beginning sounds, so this helps children begin to become aware of the sounds of their language.
As children learn these traditional rhymes, they exercise and stretch their memory skills, which helps them prepare to memorize future materials, such as the alphabet, sight words, or math facts.
So, brush up on your nursery rhymes, and teach them to your children!
To get you started, here’s the full rhyme:
Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall.
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the King’s horses,
And all the King’s men,
Couldn’t put Humpty together again.
To extend the fun of learning the rhyme, here’s a craft you can make with your child. I created the pattern based off this craft my son Adam made over 20 years ago!
- Color and cut out the Humpty Dumpty body and legs.
- Color a sheet of paper to resemble a wall.
- Glue Humpty’s legs to the wall.
- Attach Humpty’s body to the legs with a brad.
- As you say the rhyme Humpty can swivel as he falls!
Have fun! To learn more, here are links to good web articles on why nursery rhymes are important:
I’m willing to bet you can list many reasons to read out loud to your young child. It is a great way to prepare your child for that exciting day he or she begins to read.
Unfortunately, when children begin to read, many people stop reading out loud to their child. Reading time becomes only the time a child reads out loud to the parent before disappearing completely once the child is reading on their own.
I personally hate to see those reading aloud sessions disappear. Older children benefit from those special reading adventures just as much as their younger siblings. Below are just a few reasons I hope people will continue reading to their child.
- Children understand so much more than what they are capable reading. Words and plots of early reader books are by necessity too easy for children who have been used to hearing more complex stories even from their picture books.
- Children can continue to improve their vocabulary. The more words children know, the easier it is to read those words. It is also easier for a child to learn a word when read in context of a story. This also applies to the structure of language. Children who hear complex sentences and words will be able to incorporate that in their reading and speaking which will help them later in school.
- Reading aloud will help your child keep an interest in reading. Learning to read can be hard. If your child is struggling it is helpful to them to know that once they figure it out there are more exciting things out there to read.
- It gives you, as a parent, the opportunity to discuss with your child important life lessons that come forward in stories.
- It helps to keep that close bond you have already formed with reading to your child. Not only does it give you some quiet time with your child, it also gives you both a reference point. When you both see something happen in real life you can both say “ That’s just like in the book!” Or perhaps you feel like a favorite character in a book, you can say “I’m just like Alice in Wonderland” and your child will automatically know what you’re talking about.
So if your child is willing, keep on reading! I cannot think of a better way to share a book.
Part of an ongoing series highlighting the easy, no-cost ways that you can prepare your child for learning to read, today Christina will be discussing the benefits of playing with your child.
Who says learning can’t be fun?
You may have heard that how important it is to prepare your young child for Kindergarten. However, it doesn’t have to be work. The American Library Association stresses the importance of play as one of their five components to their Every Child Ready to Read program. If you missed my previous posts on talking, reading, writing, and singing you can click on the links to read more.
As you can imagine, play is fun! It is also very important because it encourages creativity and imagination. It gives children an opportunity to express themselves and recreate what they see around them. Dramatic play allows a child to make up stories and become a character they have encountered in a book or replay a typical evening at home. This dramatic play will also reinforce how a story is structured with a beginning, middle, and end.
Little ones can surprise you by taking an object and finding a completely different use than what you had anticipated. This occurred when I did a toddler program. I put out paper towel tubes for the children to look through them. Some children did this. However, I saw many other uses for the tubes such as a bat, an oar, and simply rolling it across the floor. One child even tried to stack them tepee style.
If you are uncertain where to begin in encouraging your child in creative play, stop at the library. There are many activity books, puppets, puzzles, and kits that can be checked out to get you started. In helping your child, you may discover your own creativity start to percolate.
Through play children can learn a lot about language. They start putting words to objects and letting their imaginations fly. By stretching this imagination “muscle” children will be better able to make the leaps and connections necessary when it comes time for school.
So let the play begin!
Part of an ongoing series highlighting the easy, no-cost ways that you can prepare your child for learning to read, today Christina will be discussing the benefits of writing with your child. (See Christina’s posts on Talking, Reading, and Singing here.)
Writing skills are developed long before a child actually starts writing out words at school. You can help prepare your child for this valuable skill when they are very little with any activity that works with their hand-eye coordination. This might be moving a bead along a string, or a knob along a track. This will help them develop their hand muscles. When a child can hold a pencil, using magnetic boards like those found at the library, can also help develop hand-eye coordination. Since children learn best by using a multisensory approach try using many different types of activities with them like the ones listed below.
Finger painting with pudding on paper is a fun tasty way to show that the movement of the child’s hand creates a pattern. Finger paint inside a sealed gallon bag lets your child play with the paint from the outside by pressing and pushing on the bag to draw shapes and letters. This is fun and educational.
Shaping letters with dough or “writing” in a tray with sand or salt will help children develop hand-eye coordination while working with letter and shape recognition.
When your child can hold a crayon, encourage them to scribble and make marks. Have them “sign” their name on a picture to introduce the concept that what they write means something. Often a child’s name is the first word they learn to write. Showing your child the letters in their name and giving them many opportunities to practice writing those letters will help them make the connection that letters create words.
As they get older, talk to your child about what they drew and write down a caption or write down a story with them.This again will help them make a connection between the spoken word and the printed language.
Skills take time to learn so don’t feel frustrated if they do not seem to be learning as rapidly as you would like. The important thing is that they be fun activities for you both to do and share together.
For more information on Every Child Ready to Read and fun ideas for building lifelong learners, stop by the Moline Public Library Children’s Desk!
Part of an ongoing series highlighting the easy, no-cost ways that you can prepare your child for learning to read, today Christina will be discussing the benefits of singing with your child. (See Christina’s posts on Talking and Reading here.)
Singing is great. You don’t have to have anything special to sing, it doesn’t cost any money, and you can do it while doing something else. It can calm a child or improve their mood and it is a wonderful way for children to learn language. Just like a nursery rhyme, a song will teach new words, sounds, patterns, rhymes and the rhythm of language. Listening to a song breaks words down into syllables, making it easier for your child to learn them. Adding actions to the tunes can also helpful in developing coordination and strengthen a sense of self and creative expression. Songs can be great tools to help children remember words, stories and concepts. Do you mentally sing a part of the ABC song when you alphabetize something? Songs that you learn as children tend to stick with you.
Don’t worry about how well you sing. Your child does not care. You may be surprised at how well you remember nursery rhymes you were taught as a child. Ask staff in the Children’s Dept. for some CD’s to listen to with your child at home or in the car. Singing in the car makes a car ride go much faster! Attend story times at the library, as many will incorporate songs and action plays along with stories. Check out the internet for action play demonstrations or create your own. Even simple clapping to the rhythm can be will beneficial to help your child hear the different syllables. The most important thing is to have fun – your child will!
Part of an ongoing series highlighting the easy, no-cost ways that you can prepare your child for learning to read, today Christina will be discussing the benefits of talking with your child.
Talking with your child is one of the best ways to help develop your child’s language skills. Children learn a language by hearing it spoken. They learn about the world around them, how to communicate with others, how to express feelings, as well as learn vocabulary and language skills that will help them when learning to read.
You can speak with your child anywhere. Speak with them about morning routines or chores around the house. Listen to what your child says in return. Answer their questions and expand on their statements. “Yes, that is a big dog. It is a St Bernard.” “What color is his coat?”
When you are in the car, point out things of interest, talk about signs you see. Can they guess what the signs mean? Even if your child is not talking yet, go ahead and carry on conversations. It may feel silly at first, but remember that their minds are like sponges and are soaking up every word they hear. You are teaching them needed vocabulary and word structure, as well as stimulating brain development and creating a stronger bond with your child.
Some other great opportunities to chat during the day include at the store, waiting in line, during bath time, before bedtime, out for a walk, during meals, at a playground, the library and reading books.