Summer Reading has come to an end and the Children’s Departments at the three Santa Clarita Public Libraries are getting ready to launch another season of programming that includes one of my favorites….STORYTIME! Storytime is my opportunity to share time with you and your young child and have fun reading, talking, singing, and playing. It is so fulfilling to me that this enjoyable time spent together is also a practice which promotes literacy while creating and reinforcing growth in children’s developing brains. Through enjoying and participating in these storytime activities you are assisting your child in building language, literacy, and social‒emotional skills connections at a significant time in their development as well as creating a strong bond between you and your child.
If you are unable to join in our Storytime fun at one of our three libraries, know that you are your child’s best teacher. We are all busy, but it is still an attainable goal to talk, sing, read, write and play with your child at some time during the day. Make a conscious effort to fit in these practices in little bits of time throughout the day with your young child and it will prepare them to read when she or he starts school. Also know that the Santa Clarita Public Library is here to help with a plethora of resources as well as knowledgeable librarians happy to support your efforts.
TALK– This is so easy! Have you noticed how even the very young children stop and pay attention if you talk to them? They are learning language and beginning to understand the world around them through interacting with them. You need to use this time and talk to your child, ask questions, point out the world around them, describe to them what you are doing as you make food, mix in new words so they can continue expanding their vocabulary. The more words your child is familiar with the further ahead they will be when learning to read.
SING– Lullabies, nursery rhymes, the A-B-C song, and anything else that you like to sing will work for this activity. Singing slows down language. It helps children hear the smaller sounds in words. Singing and clapping along is a wonderful way to connect and have fun with your child while helping them hear the sounds that make up words and later this skill will help children sound out words while learning to read.
READ– Every day you should take the opportunity to share books with your child. This is the single most important activity you can do to ready your child for reading. Read with expression and make this interaction as fun and engaging as possible and model to your child the benefits of having a special connection with books. Remember, the more positive the reading experience is the more likely your child will continue reading as they get older. Start by giving those really young ones board books so they can throw, bite and just have a good time with and not make you nervous. Allow the older ones to turn the pages and choose the book they want to read (even if it is the same one over and over). Talk about the pictures if your child’s attention span isn’t long enough to read an entire book. There are things to read wherever you look so take advantage. Read to your child the signs you see while driving, read cereal boxes or read the fascinating magazine article you are looking at with them because every exposure counts toward developing those pre-reading skills.
WRITE– Drawing pictures, scribbling and attempting to write letters and words help a child practice their writing skills. Other activities could be to put magnetic letters on the refrigerator to play with, glue beans on a letter outline or maybe let them write their name in shaving cream with their finger. All of the activities above help children understand that print has meaning. So, go ahead, have them scribble a note to you and then read to you what they “wrote”.
PLAY- Play is a time when children put their ideas and feelings into words. Pretending to be the mom or the fireman or the robot allows your child to tell a story and explore story structure. When a child takes a box and imagines it as a car they are thinking symbolically. This kind of thinking is the same kind of thinking that is used for reading when they learn that letters and words represent real things. Play with your children and stretch their imaginations, have great times and you will be supporting their pre-reading skills
If you would like more resources check out this website http://www.earlylit.net/early-literacy-research/#the-five-practices-sing-talk-read-write-play and read more about the five practices. Now, go have fun while you talk, sing, read, write and play with your child!