Friday, July 23, 2010

Storytime in Spanish

Every Wednesday morning our Bilingual Outreach Coordinator, Veronica Corral, goes out in the community to hold a storytime in Spanish, focusing on early literacy. As you can see, her sessions attract quite a crowd! Last week drew over 30 participants including several moms and kids of all ages, although Veronica’s focus is on children ages birth through 5.

It might sound like no small feat to keep the attention of so many children, but Veronica was quite the entertaining storyteller and the kids were eager to participate.

This session focused on the early literacy building block of vocabulary, or knowing the names of things. As she read aloud, Veronica explained certain words the children might be unfamiliar with, using synonyms that might be more familiar.
Another way to build your child’s vocabulary is just to talk to your child more, using many words and a variety of words and explaining words that might be new. Also, you can expand on things your child says, encouraging him or her to speak in complete sentences. Reading books with different vocabulary from normal conversation helps, and remember, language skills grow faster if your child hears positive feedback, so be encouraging while keeping things fun!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Print is Everywhere!

Last Tuesday evening, Amy Kukla returned to Pride and Joy Daycare for a parent workshop, again focusing on the print awareness module. Amy explained that print awareness is knowing that print is everywhere and knowing how to follow print on a page. Parents learned tips on little ways in everyday life to help their children become more aware of print, such as making a list together with kids before going shopping, and pointing out the signs of different stores that you shop at, including the sale signs and the words on different items once in the store.

To help kids learn to follow print on a page, Amy shared tips parents could use when reading a book together with their child, including pointing out the words on a page as they are read aloud, and encouraging the child to help turn the pages, to teach him or her how to handle a book and that in English we read from left to right.
Amy encouraged parents to have fun as they explore the world of print with their children, and suggested fun print awareness activities to do together, such as making a photo scrapbook of pictures taken on a "scavenger hunt" of print in the community - photos of familiar street signs, the signage of neighborhood stores, etc. Print is everywhere - have fun exploring it!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Learning How Books Work...

Last week, Amy Kukla read for two storytime sessions at Pride and Joy Daycare. This time, the focus was on print awareness. Reading to a group of 1-2 year olds (above), Amy tracked her finger under the words as she read them aloud - this is to help children begin to understand that the words printed on a page have meaning. At the end of the session, she passed out books to the children just to build their experience in knowing how to handle a book and turn pages.

During her session with the 3-4 year olds (right), Amy began to open a book upside-down. The kids caught her right away - a great sign that they have an understanding of how books work. Reading logs were passed out at both sessions - children can keep track of the hours they read or are read to, earn points and redeem them for prizes at the Library. Both sessions were kept fun and exciting by starting and ending with a sing-along, as well as short playtimes with toy rattles and a flannel board that tied in to one of the stories. Above all, reading should be FUN!

Stay tuned - later this week, Amy will share more print awareness tips at a parent workshop at Pride and Joy, to show parents how to jump start their children's reading at home.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Storytime for Adults?

In a way, yes! A key part of our Jump Start Reading at Home program is our parent workshop series, in which we help inform and assist parents in their critical role as their child’s first teacher. Last night at Seigle Avenue Church, Yvonne Thomas lead a workshop where she modeled storytelling skills for parents. This week’s emphasis was on vocabulary building. Studies show that children who enter school with larger vocabularies do better academically and are better readers, so Yvonne shared some tips with the parents on how to get their children engaged in learning more words.

Dialogic reading (asking “what” questions) is a great way to teach vocabulary and help your child give more complete descriptions about what he or she sees. As she read the story aloud, Yvonne paused to give advice and examples of what kinds of questions parents could ask while reading the same story aloud to their own children. In general, some vocabulary-building storytime tips include:

  • Point out the names of things your child may not know
  • Ask "what" questions - like "What's this?" or "What's this called?"
  • Follow answers with more questions
  • Repeat what your child says, to reinforce correct answers
  • Help your child with answers as needed
  • Ask open-ended questions, and ask your child to say more
  • Expand what your child says, to fill in the little words and add detail
  • Follow your child's interests
  • Have fun!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Six Building Blocks of Early Literacy

  • Narrative skills, which involve the ability to describe things and events and to tell stories.
  • Print motivation, in which children become interested in and enjoy books.
  • Vocabulary, or knowing the names of things.
  • Print awareness, in which children notice print, know how to handle a book and how to follow the words on a page.
  • Letter knowledge, in which children understand letters are different from each other, know their names and sounds and recognize that letters are everywhere.
  • Phonological awareness, in which youngsters are able to hear and play with the smaller sounds in words.

    Check back for photos and updates of how we're sharing these pre-reading skills with children and their parents in our community!

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