October – Asset #25, Early Literacy
by Kelly Curtis from Pass the Torch
My daughter is an avid reader, and has been since she discovered Junie B. Jones in first grade. At ten years old, she’s now sharing her love for books with the neighbor kids. For the past month, she’s hosted a project she calls Bookworm Wednesday. She invites neighborhood children to come to our home, check out her collection of books and listen to a story.
Watching her coordinate this project has reminded me how excellent reading skills have helped in all aspects of her education. It’s helped her comprehension on tests and in textbooks, strengthened her imagination, and it’s given her an avenue for creativity. And the ability to read well will serve her in many ways, for years to come.
But interest in reading starts long before children can decipher letters.
Search Institute has identified Early Literacy as one of the 40 Developmental Assets, which means research shows it’s a characteristic of healthy, caring, resilient kids. The more assets youth have, the more likely they’ll resist risky behaviors in the future. Search defines early literacy as: Child enjoys a variety of pre-reading activities, including adults reading to her or him daily, looking at and handling books, playing with a variety of media, and showing interest in pictures, letters and numbers.
A study by the National Institute for Literacy, found that parent involvement in teaching a child pre-literacy skills has a positive impact on that child becoming a reader. Although the key is to just read with your child every day, the NIFL offers free booklets and brochures to parents and educators that explain simple ways to incorporate literacy lessons into this daily reading.
Here are a few ways to build literacy skills:
- Read with your child every day, even if it’s only for a few minutes.
- Encourage your child to bring you favorite books.
- Point to pictures and name them out loud, and encourage your child to do the same.
- Watch to see if your child sometimes makes eye contact when you read aloud. That tells you she’s paying attention.
- Talk with your child about things you’re doing and what’s happening around you.
- Be patient when your child wants to read the same book over and over again.
- Encourage your child to “play” with books, pick them up and turn the pages.
- Listen when your child “pretends” to read a book, even though they’re not the words on the page.
- Give your child paper and crayons, to scribble, make pictures and pretend to write.
(Adapted from A Child Becomes a Reader-Birth Through Preschool. Get your free copy at www.nifl.gov.)
Jennifer, at Snapshot, hosted a clever project last winter called “Will you Read to Me?” Her premise was simple – that we set goals for reading to our kids. What will your goal be?
Thanks for joining in to build assets in your kids! I look forward to seeing you again next month for Positively Speaking.