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Early Literacy & You

How you can best help your improve your child's early literacy skills. By Utica Public Library. Portions adapted from ALA's Every Child Ready to Read (1st Ed.).

Joshua Carlson

on 15 November 2012

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Transcript of Early Literacy & You

Early Literacy & You Working with
Pre-Talkers, Talkers & Pre-readers About early literacy, and how you
can best impact your child's early
literacy skills. Early literacy is what children know about reading and writing before they can read and write. What is “early literacy?”
Early literacy is not the teaching of reading. It is simply providing a strong basis so that when children are taught to read in school, they are ready, or have the necessary skills and tools, to learn. 35% of children in the U.S. lack the necessary skills and motivation to succeed in school (Carnegie Foundation Report, 1991)
The economic level of the parents is a strong indicator of the reading and writing ability of their children.
Early acquisition of skills and later academic performance have been proven to be strongly linked. Some research
on early literacy. A focus on early literacy helps to stop the problem before it starts. Create and foster literate children, and you will have literate adults.
The development of early literacy skills through early experiences with books and stories is critically linked to a child’s success in learning to read. The earlier children are read to, the better language and reading skills they will develop.
Plus, children are simply better at learning than adults! Why early literacy? Brain Development. Brain plasticity is the amount the brain can change, or be remodeled, to overcome problems, in this case neglect. In a child’s early years, the brain is very capable of rewiring and restructuring to repair itself.
This image compares a PET scan of a normal 2 year old child, and a neglected child from a Romanian orphanage.
In the case of the Romanian orphans, those who were adopted and placed into nurturing and stimulating environments at a young age, demonstrated increased language development and learned to read, because their brains were able to recover from the effects of deprivation. 14 Years Old 6 Years Old At Birth A child’s brain is wired to learn. Research shows that the synaptic links in our brains are at their peak around 6 years old.
By the time a child becomes a teenager, they are already losing the synaptic connections which make learning easiest.
By age 6 we are actually the most wired to be able to learn, so what better time is there to be given the skills and tools to enjoy and learn reading? At 4 weeks-the human embryo produces half-a-million neurons every minute.
First 2 trimesters-neurons connect, establishing synapses at the rate of 2 million per second.
Just weeks before birth, neurons group together to expand their network of specific functions. These “neural nets” are tuned to detect, receive and comprehend the world in a particular way. Brain development:
Before birth. “For the first 18 months of life, the brain is a learning machine, with no need for context or relevancy for the incoming information.” From
Story Proof: the science behind the startling power of story
by Kendall Haven, 2007 At birth-babies link voice with face, and study facial expression and emotion.
By one year-babies understand sequential actions and expected behavior, and have mastered the concepts of goals and motives. They understand wants and how to act to satisfy those wants.
Emotions heavily influence development. The emotional attachment formed with a parent/caregiver begins in the first days and weeks of life. This tie is the primary source of a child’s security, self-esteem, self-control, and social skills. In addition, emotion enhances memory. Early interactions have a decisive impact upon later development, if it is a positive interaction, the development will also be positive. Brain development:
Birth to 1 year. At eighteen months-babies understand desire, goals, conflict in the name of goal pursuit, and cause-and-effect sequencing and connections between events.
What does that sound like? A story.
Even from age 18 months, children are understanding in context of story. According to Kendall Haven in Story Proof, it’s just part of being human. It’s in our nature to understand stories, since oral stories existed for hundreds of thousands of years as the prime method of human understanding, communication, and history, well before mankind began any sort of written language. Brain development:
18 months to 2 years. 100,000 years of human reliance on story has evolutionarily rewired the human brain to be predisposed to think in story terms and to use story structure to create meaning and to make sense of events and others’ actions.
From Story Proof: the science behind the startling power of story by Kendall Haven, 2007 Brain development:
Ages 2 to 3 years - early talkers and talkers. By this age, children have nearly formed the maximum number of synapses they will ever have in their brains.
They are primed to absorb the skills necessary to learn reading. Brain development:
4 to 5 years - pre-readers. Read and talk about books with the children you care for.
Incorporate the following 6 Pre-Reading Skills into your reading time, and other daily activities. How can you help develop early literacy? At the Utica Public Library we believe that early literacy is the key to solving the area’s literacy problem. Print Motivation
Print Awareness
Letter Knowledge
Narrative Skills
Phonological Awareness The 6 Pre-Reading Skills. Working with early talkers (& younger) – birth to age 2. Vocabulary
By the time a child is 2, they can know 300-500 words. You help them learn these words by talking to them and reading to them.
Print Awareness
Let them handle books. Use board books and cloth books. Even if there are only a few words on a page, point to them as you read together.
Print Motivation
Create a fun, welcoming, enjoyable experience with books while reading to them – remember the emotional connections established now will influence their development later. It matters less what you read, or whether they understand what you are reading, just how and that you do. Letter Knowledge
Help them see and feel different shapes as you play. Name simple shapes, such as “the ball is round.” Point out letters on toys, food boxes and other objects.
Narrative Skills
Talk to baby about what you are doing. Tell them stories. Read favorite books again and again.
Phonological Awareness
Say nursery rhymes so that baby hears words that rhyme. Sing songs. Add actions as you sing a song or recite a poem. Read, talk and sing to your children. Working with talkers – ages 2-3. Vocabulary
Use a variety of words during conversation. Point out objects in books and your environment and name them. Have the child repeat the words.
Print Awareness
Point out letters, words and text in the environment – signs, labels, lists, menus. Say the words and have the child repeat them.
Print Motivation
Reinforce their natural curiosity, and interest in books. Let the child turn the page in books.
Letter Knowledge
Help the child see different shapes and the shapes of letters. Write the child’s name, especially the first letter. Point out letters and name letters when reading alphabet books, and on text in the environment. The actual process of simply speaking or reading to a child at this age is valuable in and of itself.

Research at the University of Chicago found that there is a direct correlation between the amount parents/caregivers talk to children and the vocabulary growth of those children.

Children who received a high level of speech had a vocabulary level 5 times higher by age 2 than those who received a low level of speech. It may seem hard to use the 6 skills with babies and very young children, but it is never too early to start! At this age, it is time to extend the usage of the 6 skills a bit more by expanding upon their usage.

Children ages 2-3 have generally developed enough language to begin carrying on simple conversations. They are learning vocabulary at a tremendous rate and are picking up parts of speech to form more complete sentences. They enjoy having books read to them and may pretend to “read” as they look through familiar books. Narrative Skills
Let the child hold the book and “read” or tell the story in their own words based on what they see in the book.
Phonological Awareness
Sing songs. There are different notes for each syllable, so children can begin to hear the parts of words. Play word games. “What sounds like ‘ran’?” “What other words start with the same sound as ‘ball’?”
Use “dialogic reading” methods. Active Passive Vs. Dialogic reading is an active, participatory, style of reading designed to engage the child.
Dialogic reading is a process that allows you to help a child develop the 6 Pre-Reading Skills. Dialogic reading? Active, not passive.
More than just reading to a child, but engaging the child with the process of reading, and thinking about what is being read.
As simple as having a child name the colors of objects in a book, or as complex as having them try to determine what will happen next, or why something is happening.
Increase the complexity of the dialogic reading methods used as the age of a child increases. Dialogic reading is... Ask open-ended questions, not “yes/no” questions.
Ask “what” and “why” questions.
Give the child plenty of time to respond with an answer.
Expand upon a child’s answer with another question, dig deeper.
If the child doesn’t have an answer, provide one and have them repeat it. Follow up with another question.
Provide continuous encouragement and praise. Dialogic reading: a “how-to” guide. Point to frog or other animal and say “What’s this?”
Confirm, praise/encourage: “Yes ,that’s right, it is a frog!”
Expand: provide more information: “It is a frog! A green, jumping frog!”
Explore further: “What sound does a frog make?” Pages from Jump Frog Jump by Robert Kalan. Dialogic reading, an example. Simply "receiving"
input from the TV Actively engaging
with the video game So, how can you help? Working with pre-readers – ages 4-5. Continue working on the 6 Pre-Reading Skills and continue using dialogic reading, but:
Focus on Phonological Awareness.
Most children who have a hard time reading and learning to read have a problem with the Phonological Awareness skill.
Continue with singing songs and nursery rhymes. Emphasize the syllables. Use songs such as “Willowby, Wallowby, Woo.”
Play games, such as “I Spy”:
“I spy something that rhymes with ‘cat’.” Willowby, Wallowby, Woo
An elephant sat on you.
Willowby, Wallowby, Wee
An elephant sat on me!

Make up your own rhymes like this:
Willowby, Wallowby, Wary
An elephant sat on Mary.
Willowby, Wallowby, Wuzzle
An elephant played with a puzzle.
Willowby, Wallowby, Weetah
An elephant ran with a cheetah! Willowby, Wallowby, Woo. In addition to those mentioned here, there are many other things you can do to positively impact your child's early literacy skills.

Learn more at Utica Public Library! Has thousands of board books and picture books to check out.
Has themed story time bags with books, music, and activities to use at your leisure available to check out.
Has a large collection of books and materials on a wide variety of topics related to caring for children.
Can provide story times for groups at the library. Utica Public Library… Utica Public Library… is here to help you. 303 Genesee Street Utica, NY 13501
www.facebook.com/uticapubliclibrary.youthservices YOU are instrumental
to the process of increasing your
child's early literacy skills. The primary individuals in a child’s life, whether they are parents or other caregivers, are instrumental in the process of developing early literacy. These individuals spend the most time with a child, and thus have the greatest impact, upon a child’s development.
Other individuals, such as librarians, can only do so much. That is why we offer programs and workshops at the Utica Public Library designed to help parents and caregivers gain the necessary skills to help their children. Utica Public Library This PET scan shows the different parts of the brain used in conversation.
The temporal lobe is used for hearing and attaching meaning to words. The occipital lobe is for seeing and visual processing. The frontal lobe is used for actual speech, including generating sounds and moving the mouth and tongue. And the prefrontal cortex is used to plan what to say, generating words, and sequential thought.
It is the connection of these parts and how they are used in conjunction that allows the development of speech, language, reading and writing.
As mentioned earlier, the connections in the brain are far greater at a young age, so the more these pathways between lobes are used speaking and writing become easier.
The only way to make these pathways is through repetition and practice.
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