Normally when I post on this blog, I talk about reading programs or activities used in schools. For example, should students silent read in classrooms or should the labeling system on children’s books be more consistent? Although I believe that reading education is important in schools, I also believe that children should be exposed to reading earlier in their lives. One program that I have been researching that I believe should definitely be used to increase literacy is Every Child Ready to Read.
This program was first launched in 2004 and is used in local libraries to develop and increase early literacy in children from birth to age five. This program is also a parent education initiative in order to provide parents with the resources and skill sets to help increase their children’s literacy at home. Through this program parents should:
- Be informed of constrained and unconstrained skill sets
- Understand how to use ECRR materials to have conversations with a variety of groups
- Receive information on past partnerships and discuss suggestions for working with new and old partners.
This program was sponsored by the Public Library Association (PLA) and the Association for Library Services for Children. This program and it’s update that came out recently are found in many public libraries across the United States. This program is even found in my local library. I did not realize that the story times at my local library for 0-5 year olds were organized with this program.
For two years in high school, I volunteered in my local library during the story time for the 0-3 year olds. I would usually collect tickets from the kids and give each of them a stamp. The librarians would lead the kids through fun songs, educational activities and of course a good book. Often times these programs were themed. One that I distinctly remember dealt with colors. The librarian started the program with a fun song to get the children’s wiggles out. Then, she calmed them down by reading them a story where the main character was learning the major colors names. While she was reading, she would often ask the children what colors they saw or what they thought was going to happen next. Then, she demonstrated what happened when she mixed blue and yellow paint together. All of the children were very engaged in the program and eager to participate. I loved helping out with these programs because it was great to see how fast the children grew and learned throughout the year.
Although the story time activities were mainly aimed at the children, when researching this program, I also realized that they were being geared towards the parents as well. These programs were not just to help teach the kids, it was also to help model literacy strategies that parents could use at home with their children. The Every Child Ready to Read website described that there are five main skills that they want to expose these parents to: sing, talk, read, write and play. By having the parents stay during the story time programs at the libraries, these parents were learning basic ways that they could encourage and help their children’s literacy levels at home.
Literacy is such an important skill for children to learn. Often time, kids are seen as being behind if they do not already know how to read when they enter kindergarten. I believe that this program is a great way to increase literacy in children at both the library and at home. I would love to hear what you all have to say about this program!