What is the single most important skill for success in school? Reading, of course. Reading is the foundation for all the subjects that students encounter throughout their education. Early mastery of reading provides the foundation for building subject comprehension.
Learning to read begins long before children start school. Parents and caregivers hold the key to building reading readiness. The best part is that helping your child develop these skills is seamless, easy and fun. Activities that build pre-literacy skills are talking, singing, reading, writing and playing with babies and preschoolers.
Babies begin learning language and communication skills from the very beginning. When a baby is 4 to 6 months old, he or she will be babbling and making repetitive sounds like mama and dada, and around 1 year old, the baby will begin using real words. Oral language skills continue to develop rapidly until the child is able to communicate fluently.
Reading and writing skills develop in a similar fashion. Children learn the shapes and names of the letters of the alphabet. They learn to sing the alphabet song to name all the letters in order. Show your child the letters that spell his or her name. Help him or her say the letters and put them in order to spell their name. Gradually children learn that letters form words that represent the language we use to communicate orally. That is a huge step toward learning to read.
Playing games with your child can help develop the skills that lead to literacy. Writing letters in the sand on the beach, playing with magnetic letters on the fridge and helping children form letters on paper are all fun ways to build letter recognition. Songs and rhymes help children learn to hear the distinct sounds that combine to form words. Jumping, dancing, clapping and singing along with the music reinforces the rhythm of language. Encouraging children to create their own stories helps them see how words connect to form a narrative. Let your child draw pictures and make up stories to go with his or her illustrations.
Parents are a child’s first and best teachers. Your attention and delight in your child will present many opportunities to build on his or her natural language acquisition skills. When you interact with your child directly you are helping them develop the building blocks for learning and reading. If you would like more information about reading readiness, please contact us at the library. We have plans for Every Child Ready to Read workshops in the fall. Every Child Ready to Read is a project of the Association for Library Service to Children and the Public Library Association, divisions of the American Library Association.
The library is pleased to thank the following local business and organizations for their generous contributions to our Summer Reading Program: Taco Bell, Golden Corral, McDonald’s, Kiwanis, Walmart and Busch Gardens.
Sign ups for Summer Reading are ongoing at all Robeson County Libraries. Register now and plan to read, enjoy programs, win prizes and have fun this summer. We hope to see you at the library.
Catie Roche is the director of the Robeson County Library. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org. She is reading “Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand” by Helen Simonson.