Read to Me!
Did you know that just by playing with your child, you are helping him or her to learn? You are your child's first and best teacher. By reading, talking, singing and playing with your child, you are building important skills that will form the foundation for their later reading and school success! The best part about it is that you don't need fancy videos and expensive equipment. In the words of Dr. Benjamin Spock, "You know more than you think you do."
How can you build your child's early literacy skills?
The library is full of fun opportunities to learn language and develop early literacy skills. Come to our baby/toddler storytimes and sing songs with us, listen to stories, and recite rhymes. See a special library program – we have musicians, puppets shows, and other exciting events. Check out some books to read to your child – ask a librarian for some recommendations.
"Read with Me" Reading Program
In March, the Berkeley Public Library hosts a special reading program just for babies, toddlers, preschoolers, and their caregivers. Parents can pick up game boards at the library starting March 1st. Engage in a variety of early literacy activities as outlined on the game board. These activities may be playing "I spy," singing songs, or attending a library storytime. Come back to the library with your completed game board by March 31st to get your prize!
It's never too early to read with your child.
Reading with your child is a rich and rewarding experience for both the child and the adult. You can forge strong relationships with your child as you explore language together in a lively and entertaining way. This is one of the most important things you can do to help your child learn language. Begin sharing books with your baby as soon as you can safely hold the baby and the book at the same time. You are building a life–long reader.
Babies may not understand the stories you are reading to them, but early literacy skills begin at birth. Early literacy is what your child understands about reading and writing before they actually are able to read and write themselves. Research has shown that even before a child enters school, what he/she knows about language influences that child's success at reading and writing.
There are six early reading skills:
- Print motivation – Being interested in and enjoying books
- Vocabulary – knowing the name of things.
- Narrative skill – Being able to describe things and events and tell stories.
- Print awareness – Noticing print, knowing how to handle a book and knowing how to follow words on a page.
- Letter knowledge – Knowing letters are different from each other, knowing their names and sounds and recognizing letters everywhere.
- Phonological awareness – Being able to hear and play with the smaller sounds in words. (e.g. rhymes)
(From "Every Child Ready to Read @Your Library: Parent Guide to Early Literacy for Pre–Readers: Four– and five– Year Olds" published by the American Library Association, 2004.)
Sharing books can take place anywhere and at anytime. Have a book on hand so you can take advantage of standing in line, waiting for the bus or any time when you're just waiting. It's also nice to have a special time set aside for reading such as just before naps, right after meals or at bedtime.
- Find a comfortable place to sit.
- Hold the book so your child can see the pages.
- Make it exciting—use expression in your voice.
- Vary the pace of your reading, slow or fast.
- Ask a few questions about the pictures and ideas.
- Let your child turn the pages.
- Recite or sing rhymes from your favorite books.
- Have your child select books.
- Enjoy your child's favorite books again and again. Many kids love repetition.
- Keep it fun!
Links to More Information