Awhile back, I presented a workshop called, “A Books And More.” The workshop featured ideas to extend a book with other activities to do with kids. During the workshop I also presented information about how teachers and caregivers can help children develop early literacy skills, different ways to read a story, and tips for choosing books for young children. Following is a compilation of the early literacy information I gathered while preparing for the workshop.
What can teachers and caregivers do to help children develop literacy skills and pre-reading skills? From Story Stretchers for Infant, Toddlers, and Twos
- Give children interesting things to talk about and opportunities to express themselves.
- Tell stories.
- Expose children to pictures.
- Read to them from age appropriate books.
- Allow children to handle books and use them freely.
- Communicate the attitude that reading is fun.
- Provide diverse experiences with people and places.
- Make sure children are in good health, checking on potential hearing, vision, or speech problems that might prevent the normal development of pre-reading skills.
Did you know that there are many ways to “read a story”?
Take a Picture Walk
- Encourage the children to use their words to tell the story
- Ask questions
– What do you see?
– What do you think this book is going to be about when you look at the front and the back cover?
– What are pictures do you notice on this page?
– What do you notice about the ____?
– Who do you see on the cover/page?
– Where do you think they live? Why? What things do you see that tell you they live ____?
- Point out key pictures that emphasize new vocabulary
- Write down the children’s rendition of the story as you take a picture walk
Read the Story
- Sit with the children and read the story
- Point out pictures that emphasize key vocabulary words
- Ask questions that might connect the story to the children’s lives
- Compare/contrast the children’s story based off of your picture walk to the actual story
Story Board (flannel, magnetic, story in a bag, story in a box, puppets)
- Place the story piece on the story board and solicit vocabulary and story from children
- Pass out pieces to children and as you retell the story, invite the children to place the pieces on the story board
- Place the story board in the reading area for children to recreate their own stories
Act the Story Out
- Use pictures or props created to represent characters/scenes
- Ask each child which what part they would like to act out
- For those children who do not want to act, assign other roles
– Gopher (Props man)
Listen to the Story on CD
- Go to your local library and check out the book on CD
- Gather the children and listen to the story using the CD
– Invite a child or two to help hold the book and turn the pages
- Place the book in the book area for children to listen to during their choice time.
Tips for Choosing Books for Young Children
- The story must capture children’s interest in the first couple of pages.
- Illustrations or photographs must be of highest quality and be clear and crisp, easy for a young child’s eyes to decipher.
- Text and illustrations must work together on each page. The words must address the actions in the illustrations on that page.
- Text and illustrations must be free from stereotype or prejudice about any person or group of people.
- The story should stimulate the child’s imagination.
- A sense of self-worth should be encouraged in the story.
- A wide range of family lifestyles and cultures should be represented in the book selections.
- Wordless books should be included in selections for toddlers and twos.
- Stories with minimal text and large print are best.
- Stories with repetitive phrases, rhyming language, and crisp dialogue will become favorites.
- Stories should celebrate independence and competency in children, and affirm the value of each child.
Early Literacy by Zero to Three
Reading Rockets – a national multimedia literacy initiative offering information and resources on how young kids learn to read, why so many struggle, and how caring adults can help.
Every Child Ready to Read @ your library® – a parent education initiative. It stresses early literacy begins with the primary adults in a child’s life.