Help Your Child Get Ready to Read…With Demco’s Upstart and “Every Child Ready to Read”

In our storytime planning, we like to incorporate the “Every Child Ready to Read” 5 pre-literacy practices. These seemingly simple practices help us to model to and encourage parents on how to help their child become a great reader.

Here are those five practices:

1. Talking: Talking with children helps them learn oral language, one of the most critical early literacy skills. Children learn about language by listening to parents talk and joining in the conversation.

2. Singing: Singing develops language skills. Slows down language so children can hear the different sounds in words. Helps children learn new words and information.

3. Reading: Reading together develops vocabulary and comprehension, nurtures a love for reading, and motivates children to want to learn to read.

4. Writing: Children become aware that printed letters stand for spoken words as they see print used in their daily lives.

5. Playing: Play is one of the best ways for children to learn language and literacy skills. They learn about language through playing as the activities help them put thoughts into words and talk about what they are doing.

As a parent, you can incorporate these five practices very easily in your daily routine!  Here are some suggestions:

  1. Talking:  Keep up conversations as you go about your daily routine, for example, as you walk down the sidewalk, point out a street sign and say “Here’s the name of our street!  It’s called Main Street”.  Or talk about the color socks they are putting on.  Or count the number of crackers or apple slices they are having for a snack.
  2. Singing: Sing familiar songs together – I’ll bet your child sings some storytime songs at home!  Ask him or her to sing it again, or teach it to you.
  3. Reading: It goes without saying that you should be reading to your child every day.  If you haven’t already, enroll your infant-preschool aged child in our 1000 Books Before Kindergarten program.
  4. Writing: Drawing, scribbling, and practicing letters all help those emergent fine- motor skills and print recognition.
  5. Playing: This is the work of childhood!  Play with your child often!

If you need more ideas to help you incorporate these five practices into your daily routine, here’s a link to a fun calendar produced by Upstart (part of Demco, a library supply company).  This calendar prompts you to do one fun thing each day of the month that will that will help your child build pre-reading skills:  Daily Fun with Your Little One!

Download a free calendar each month!

Miss Teresa

Christina’s Corner: Every Child Ready to Read- Play

Part of an ongoing series highlighting the easy, no-cost ways that you can prepare your child for learning to read, today PrintChristina 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!



Christina’s Corner: Every Child Ready to Read

Part of an ongoing series highlighting the easy, no-cost ways that you can prepare your child for learning to read, today PrintChristina will be discussing the benefits of writing with your child. (See Christina’s posts on TalkingReading, 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!



Christina’s Corner: Every Child Ready to Read

Part of an ongoing series highlighting the easy, no-cost ways that you can prepare your child for learning to read, today PrintChristina 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!



Christina’s Corner: Every Child Ready to Read – Reading

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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 reading with your child.

Reading to your child is a fun and easy way to help prepare your child to read. Even the act of opening a book is teaching your child how a book works and what you do with it. Reading to your child will increase your child’s vocabulary, their general knowledge, prepare them for what letters and punctuation look like, as well as help create a bond between you and your child. Children enjoy reading because they are spending time with you and children who enjoy being read to are much more likely to be interested in learning to read on their own when they are older.

Things to Keep in Mind When Reading to Your Child:

Read to your child every day.

Don’t worry about how well you read. What is important is the interaction you have with your child. If you create a reading time, this will become a ritual your child will look forward to. While many parents read to their child at bedtime, it can be any time you pick when you are not feeling rushed.

Involve your child with the story.

Let your child turn the pages. Talk to your child about the book, ask questions as you read and listen to what your child says. Let them point things out. Discuss the meaning of new words to help build their vocabulary. At the end of the story, let your child retell it in their own words to help build their listening comprehension.

It’s okay to read the same story over and over.

Even though adults get tired reading the same story all the time, your child is learning vocabulary and story patterns by memorizing the story. It is also fun for them to be able to predict what will happen. We all like to know things. This starts at an early age.

Ask your librarian for book suggestions appropriate for your child’s age and current interests. If you are concerned about your child tearing pages, ask for board books which have cardboard pages.

It is never too soon or too late to start reading. The sooner you begin reading to your child the more they learn and the more fun you have together sharing.


Participate in reading programs like the library’s summer reading program which begins June 6th or the national book program 1000 Books Before Kindergarten which begins April 30th.These programs can give you and your child goals to keep you focused on reading regularly and add another element of fun.  Ask at the Children’s Desk for details.


Christina’s Corner: Every Child Ready to Read – Talking


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?”

CaptureWhen 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.




Christina’s Corner: Every Child Ready to Read @ your library

PrintHow do I prepare my child to learn to read?

Everyone realizes that reading is essential to your child’s success in school and that some children seem to have an advantage when it comes to learning. How do you give that advantage to your child?

Learning to read has always seemed to be a bit of a mystery to many. Fortunately, it is never to early or too late to help your child develop needed language and early literacy skills that will help them later in school. As a parent, you are your child’s first and best teacher, and a tremendous role model. You can start your child’s path to learning with the following easy, no-cost activites: talking, reading, singing, writing, and playing. They may sound simple but they will have a tremendous impact on your child’s education.

Over the next few months, we will outline how each of these activities will help your child get prepared for reading.  Check in each month for simple explanations and tips!