It is widely recognized that, “The single most important activity for building the knowledge required for eventual success in reading is reading aloud to children. This is especially so during the preschool years.” (Becoming a Nation of Readers)
The good news is that parents, grandparents, childcare providers, and preschool teachers can use five simple practices — talking, singing, reading, writing, and playing—to develop language and pre-reading skills in children from birth to age five.
Recent research goes a step further. How we read with children is as important as how often we read with them. According to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development of the National Institutes of Health, there are six early literacy skills that parents, child care providers and any adult who works with children should be aware of to support early literacy in young children. These skills start to develop from birth!
The six skills are Print Motivation, Vocabulary, Phonological Awareness, Narrative Skills, Print Awareness, and Letter Knowledge. There are activities related to your child’s development over the first five years that you can do to enhance each skill. For example, phonological awareness is the ability to hear and play with the smaller sounds in words. Singing with babies and young children helps them hear the rhythm of language. Because each syllable is a different note, they begin to hear words broken down into parts. Listening to and saying rhymes help children hear rhyming words. This helps them realize that words are made up of smaller sounds. As they get older, there are many words games you can play together, breaking words apart and putting them together, making silly rhymes.
You can learn more about all six early literacy skills and the ways you can support your child’s early learning by asking a Youth Librarian to point you in the direction of resources for selecting books and materials, early childhood development, preparing for kindergarten, and information about child related events at the Keene Public Library.
Baby Minds: Brain-building games your baby will love by Linda Acredolo and susan Goodwyn
Brain Games for Babies, Toddlers & Twos by Jackie Silberg
The Complete Book of Activities, Games, Stories, Props, Recipes, and Dances for Young Children by Pam Schiller and Jackie Silberg
Do You Know the Muffin Man?: An essential preschool literacy resource by Pam Schiller and Thomas Moore
Eager to Learn: Educating our Preschoolers by the Committee on Early Childhood Pedagogy, Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education, National Research Council
First Art: Art experiences for toddlers and twos by MaryAnn F. Kohl
How to Get Your Child to Love Reading by Esmé Raji Codell by Gretchen Owocki and Yetta Goodman
More than Letters: Literacy activities for preschool, kindergarten, and first grade by Sally Moomaw and Brenda Hieronymus
More than the ABCs: The early stages of reading and writing by Judith A. Schickedanz
Phonics from A to Z: A practical guide by Wiley Blevins
Reading Right from the Start: What parents can do in the first five years by Toni S. Bickart and Diane Trister Dodge
Squish, Sort, Paint & Build: Over 200 easy learning center activities by Sharon MacDonald
Starting out Right: A guide to promoting children's reading success by the Committee on the Prevention of Reading Difficulties in Young Children, Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education, National Research Council
Story Stretchers: Activities to expand children's favorite books by Shirley C. Raines and Robert J. Canady
Story Stretchers for Infants, Toddlers, and Twos: experiences, activities, and games for popular children's books by Shirley Raines, Karen Miller, and Leah Curry-Rood
Toddler Play, edited by Wendy S. Masi
Born Learning - Nelps parents, grandparents and caregivers explore ways to turn everyday moments into fun learning opportunities.
Every Child Ready to Read - Information from the Public Library Association and the Association to Library Service to Children on the six pre-reading skills research has shown that children must have in order to become ready to read.
Get School Ready - Information on early literacy, check lists for home and childcare settings, screening tools, and more. Sponsored by the Foundation for Early Learning.
InsideStory Flashcards - These high quality flashcards with photographic images are downloadable and printable. Great for kids, ESL and SAT words.
Get Set 4 Kindergarten - Information on kindergarten skills readiness, getting ready to read, health and wellness. Updated monthly. From the Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenberg County.
Helping Your Child Become a Reader - Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education. Includes guidelines, information and games.
Mother Goose Pages - This comprehensive list of nursery rhymes includes tips for reading nursery rhymes with children
National Center for Family Literacy - Dedicated to promoting literacy in children and families. Find literacy events, tips, and more in the "Resources" section.
Planet Esme - Book suggestions for children of all ages, tips for making reading fun and more from children's book author and former teacher, Esme Raji Codell.
Read Write Think -- A partnership between the International Reading Association (IRA), the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), and the Verizon Foundation.
Reading Rockets - Find recommended books for all ages, webcasts, author interviews, monthly quiz about books, and more.
Zero to Three - From the National Center for Infants, Toddlers, and Families.
Website Disclaimer: Due to the ever-changing nature of the Internet, we cannot guarantee that the above links will remain valid. Similarly, we cannot be responsible for changes in the content of the sources to which we link, or the content of sources accessed through secondary links. As with printed information, users are encouraged to evaluate the validity of information found. Keene Public Library provides these links as a convenience to our users, and the inclusion of any links does not necessarily imply endorsement.