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Early literacy is what children know about communication, language—verbal and non-verbal—reading and writing before they can actually read and write. Research shows that children get ready to read years before they start school. Help children learn important skills now so they can become good readers later.
Take every opportunity to read, play, sing, talk and write with your children. These daily activities will help get children ready to learn.
Thursday, October 22
Babies and Toddlers: Change the words in a familiar song to make something new. Instead of "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star," sing about a quiet star or a great big star. Use your voice to help illustrate the new adjective: sing about the quiet star in a quiet voice or the great big star in a very loud voice.
Preschoolers: Sing - Act out this pumpkin rhyme. Begin by sitting cross-legged on the floor with your knees pulled up tight to resemble a round pumpkin. Pumpkin, pumpkin sitting on the wall / Pumpkin, pumpkin tip and fall. (roll over onto your back). Pumpkin, pumpkin, rolling down the street. (sit back up and roll hands around each other) Pumpkin, pumpkin, good to eat!! (rub tummy in a circular motion)
Using physical motions along with chanting rhymes and this chant will help children hear the syllables in words which will help with sounding out words when they learn to read.
Wednesday, October 21
Babies and Toddlers: Clap along to rhythms when you sing or listen to a song. This helps children hear the syllables in words.
Preschoolers: Talk - Before tucking your child in bed, talk about things you did this morning, this afternoon and tonight.
Reviewing what you did is telling the story of your day. Try to include new vocabulary words that might have cropped up during the day. The more words your child knows the easier it will be to understand what they are reading when they learn to read because they will be familiar with the words.
Tuesday, October 20
Babies and Toddlers: Point out signs and logos as you and your toddler drive or go about your day. Talk about what different signs represent to help make your child aware of words and symbols all around them.
Preschoolers: Write - Draw and label the life cycle of a pumpkin with information learned from reading a non-fiction book about pumpkins.
Writing words helps children understand that words are made up of letters and their sounds.
Monday, October 19
Babies and Toddlers: Expand on the things your child says. For example, if your child points out a flower, respond with: "Yes, that is a flower. That flower is called a rose. Roses can be red, yellow, white or pink."
Preschoolers: Read -Read a non-fiction book about pumpkins. Talk about what you learned.
Reading different types of books such as non-fiction might interest reluctant readers and entice them to read more.
Children who enjoy reading will be motivated to learn to read when they are older.
Week of October 12
Babies and Toddlers: As you read to your child, make the experience interactive by asking him questions, such as “What do you think will happen next?” “What was your favorite part of the story? Why?” These kinds of open-ended questions help develop critical thinking skills.
Preschoolers: Play - Play “Riddle Me.” I’m smaller than your hand, I’m green and I’m in the kitchen. What am I? Yes! A grape.
When children figure out riddles, they must use their mastery of vocabulary words to understand the clues and critical thinking skills to determine what the object is.
Babies and Toddlers: Let your toddler turn the pages of a board book and respond to them when they point or react to the story.
Preschoolers: Sing - Squirrels are everywhere, digging holes and burying acorns. Chant this rhyme about squirrels.
Grey squirrel, grey squirrel, swish your bushy tail. / Grey squirrel, grey squirrel, swish your bushy tail. / Hide an acorn in your toes, wrinkle up your little nose. / Grey squirrel, grey squirrel, swish your bushy tail.
Chanting rhymes is one way to strengthen children’s phonological awareness, hearing those smaller sounds in words.
Babies and Toddlers: Explore board and cloth books for babies. Board and cloth books are great options for babies who like to touch things and put everything in their mouths.
Preschoolers: Talk - Take an alphabet walk outside. Talk about things that begin with different letter sounds.
Talking about letter sounds as you see the object reinforces the early literacy skill of letter knowledge.
Babies and Toddlers: Establish a routine to ensure that reading is part of your daily schedule, such as at naptime and bedtime. It also creates times during the day that both of you can look forward to sharing together.
Preschoolers: Write - Draw a picture for a grandparent or other very important person.
Even very young children can begin to imitate the act of writing and telling a story by drawing a picture.
Babies and Toddlers: Reading to babies is important for healthy brain development and lays the foundation for language skills.
Preschoolers: Read - Go to the library and check out a rhyming book such as Silly Sally by Audrey Wood or ask the librarian for a recommendation.
Listening to rhymes lays the foundation for hearing the smaller sounds in words, which will help them sound out words when they learn to read.
Giddy-Up Daddy by Troy Cummings
Two children imagine what might happen when their dad, the world’s best at playing “horsey,” is lured away by rustlers. The children set out to rescue him by following his tracks and end up on a wild trip to a rodeo, a circus and even to Canada. They all ride off into the sunset, just in time for dinner.
Early Literacy Tip: The story includes some words which may be unfamiliar to your child. Before reading, explain any new words, such as “rustler” or “polo.” Use a map to show your child where Kentucky and Canada are, and explain that it is a long distance between the tow locations. Ask your child to listen for the new words while reading together.
Round is a Tortilla by Roseanne Greefield Thong, illustrated by John Parra
Explore shapes with two Mexican-American children as they go about their daily activities. They discover shapes at the park, at a baseball game and at home. Written in rhyme, the book includes both English and Spanish words, and includes a glossary with all the Spanish words which are mentioned.
Early Literacy Tip: Ask your child to look for shapes around the house or outdoors. Help your child create a list of circles, squares, triangles and other shapes they discover.
Reading Makes You Feel Good by Todd Parr
Brightly colored illustrations invite the reader in to discover all the reasons to read, read, read. When you read, you can learn about new places and things, make new friends and make someone feel better. Best of all, you can read anywhere!
Early Literacy Tip: Print awareness is an important early literacy skill for young children. Build print awareness by helping your child notice print at home and elsewhere in their daily routines. Be sure to point out all the text author Todd Parr has included throughout the book. Buildings and signs, book titles, even food in the refrigerator are all labeled for the reader.
Miss Brooks Loves Books (and I Don’t) by Barbara Bottner, illustrated by Michael Emberley
Miss Brooks, the school librarian, loves books and encourages the children to find books they love. One little girl resists all of Miss Brooks’ efforts, even though the librarian dresses up and always makes story circle fun. One day, Miss Brooks tells the children to pick a story to share with the class. Finally, after looking and looking, the little girl finds the perfect book to share.
Early Literacy Tip: To encourage a love of reading, let your child choose their own books when visiting the library. If a child enjoys a particular book, help them look for other books by the same author. A great way to encourage your child to read is to get them their own library card and encourage them to check out their books. Give your child their own tote bag to use when visiting the library.
Baby on Board by Marianne Berkes
You know that babies are carried by grownups, but do you know how animal parents carry their babies? This book looks at a variety of different animals and displays how the mother and/or father carries their baby.
Bears on Chairs by Shirley Parenteau
Four chairs. Four cuddly bears. All is well until Big Brown Bear shows up and wants a seat.
Breaking News: Bear Alert by David Biedrzycki
Two bears awaken from hibernation and go to town—literally. During their visit, they eat at a diner, dress up at a department store and stop a couple of bank robbers, all the while mistaking the townspeople's terror for friendliness.
The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson
There will be times when you walk into a room and no one there is quite like you. There are many reasons to feel different. Maybe it's how you look or talk, or where you're from; maybe it's what you eat, or something just as random. It's not easy to take those first steps into a place where nobody really knows you yet, but somehow you do it.
A Different Now by Angela Johnson
Through the eyes of one little girl, All Different Now tells the story of the first Juneteenth, the day freedom finally came to the last of the slaves in the South. Since then, the observance of June 19 as African American Emancipation Day has spread across the United States and beyond.
Fight Pollution, Big Bird! by Jennifer Boothroyd
Young readers learn all about pollution and how to protect earth with Big Bird and his Sesame Street friends. Keep water clean, pick up litter and recycle to help stop pollution.
A Girl Like Me by Angela Johnson
Empower young readers to embrace their individuality, reject societal limitations and follow their dreams. This inspiring picture book brings together a poem by acclaimed author Angela Johnson and Nina Crews's distinctive photocollage illustrations to celebrate girls of color.
Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas by Natasha Yim
In this Chinese American retelling of "Goldilocks and the Three Bears, a careless Goldy Luck wreaks havoc on the home of a family of panda bears. She eats up the littlest panda's rice porridge, breaks his rocking chair and rumples all the blankets on his futon. When Goldy takes responsibility for her actions, she makes a new friend (and a whole plate of turnip cakes!) just in time for Chinese New Year.
Harriet Gets Carried Away by Jessie Sima
Harriet loves costumes. She wears them to the dentist, to the supermarket and most importantly, to her super-special dress-up birthday party.
Hooray for You! by Marianne Richmond
Hooray for You! is a celebration of You-Ness, the grand sum of mind, body and heart that makes every person truly unique. Look in the mirror. Love who you see. Stand tall. Smile big. Shout, "Hooray for me!" A welcome appreciation of the wonderfulness in us all.
Lola Dutch When I Grow Up by Kenneth Wright
Determined to decide what to be when she grows up, Lola tries several careers before listening to her friend, Bear, who reminds her that she need not be in a hurry.
Lola Plants a Garden by Anna McQuinn
Lola plants a flower garden with her parent's help, and watches it grow.
The Ninjabread Man by Katrina Charman
In a terrific twist on the original tale of The Gingerbread Man, follow the amazing Ninjabread Man as he dips and dives out of danger.
On Kiki’s Reef by Carol Malnor
A tiny baby sea turtle scrambles across the sandy beach and into the sea. Floating far out in the ocean, Kiki is becoming a gentle giant. She swims to shallower water where a rainbow of corals puts on a show. Kiki adopts the busy coral reef as her new home and discovers fish of all sizes.
Over in the Forest by Marianne Berkes
Children learn the ways of forest animals to the rhythm of "Over in the Meadow" as they leap like a squirrel, dunk like a raccoon and pounce like a fox. They will also count the babies and search for ten hidden forest animals.
Trucks! by Charles Reasoner
Follow a day in the life of Truck while he is at work.
Yasmin the Explorer by Saadia Faruqi
When Yasmin's father explains to her about explorers and maps, Yasmin decides to make a map of her neighborhood and she brings it along on a trip to the farmers' market with her mother.
Yummy Yucky by Leslie Patricelli
Learning about opposites has never been more fun or funny. Spaghetti is yummy, but worms, blue crayons and sand are definitely yucky when tasted.