Little Kids @ UAPL

Get Ready To Read! Building Narrative Skills

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Mother and baby readingToday’s children are expected to have strong pre-literacy skills before they enter kindergarten. How can parents ensure that they are providing the right experiences for their children to develop these skills? Many parents don’t realize that literacy education actually begins in infancy. 

The good news is that helping your child attain such skills is much easier than you may think. Almost ANY activity that you do with your child is helping them develop literacy skills. It can be as simple as talking and singing to your child, reading to them, or even describing to them what they are feeling, hearing, tasting, touching, seeing and doing.

One simple activity to start with is looking at pictures.  Look at family photos, or pictures from books and magazines and talk about what you see. Better yet, check out some of the UAPL’s wordless picture books. Snuggle up in your favorite comfy chair, look at the pictures and make up your own stories! This activity helps your child develop narrative skills.  We have many wordless books, but some of our favorites are:

 

Get Ready To Read! Phonological Awareness

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Phonological awareness is a child’s awareness that sentences can be broken down into words, syllables and sounds. Music naturally encourages development of this pre-reading skill by allowing kids to play with language using rhythm, rhyming and repetition. Take a peek at this short video for more information:

 

Did you know that it is very easy to make your musical instruments at home? Check out some great ideas from Nancy Stewart!

At the UAPL youth department, we have an extensive collection of children’s music.  Check out some CDs and have your very own sing-a-long at home. 

 

Get Ready To Read! Print Motivation

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baby boy with book

One of the first early literacy skills to develop is print motivation. Print motivation is a child's interest in and enjoyment of books. Parents can cultivate this skill early on by reading to their infants. Even though they aren't able to follow the story, they still very much enjoy hearing their parent's voice. If children witness their parents enjoying reading, they learn to view reading as a fun activity. Parents need to make books accessible, proudly display them on a shelf, as prized possessions and create a cozy spot dedicated to reading together. And let's not forget trips to the library!! The UAPL has amazing storytimes and other youth programs, and little ones can get their very own library card!!

Here are some books from our collection, chosen especially for their enjoyment potential:

Get Ready To Read! Letter Knowledge

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At some point in early childhood, children realize that letters are different from each other. They learn to recognize all letters, in both lower and upper cases. They learn the name of each letter and what sound accompanies each letter. This process is known as letter knowledge. This skill can be developed by every day reading and writing activities such as playing with alphabet letters on a refrigerator, reading and pointing out letters in alphabet books, naming letters on signs at the grocery store and even tracing letters on a dry erase board. This short video shows just how easy it is to fit this into any busy parent's schedule:

 

Try this fun idea! You can make your very own magnetic letter board. Just spray a cookie sheet a fun color and add magnetic letters!

The UAPL has a wonderful collection of alphabet books. Check these out:

Get Ready To Read! Vocabulary

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Vocabulary is simply knowing the names of things. Words and their meanings are the building blocks of literacy development. The more words a child knows, the easier it will be for him or her to understand what they read.  A parent can help their child build vocabulary by exploring different types of books, formats, and subjects in both fiction and non-fiction. As unfamiliar words are encountered, the parent and the child can sound them out together and talk about what each new word means. At home, parents can introduce new words into every day conversation. For example, instead of the usual, “Get in the car, we're going to the library!” you could say, “Let's get into our automobile (or vehicle)!” 

Enjoy these books from our collection, chosen especially for their colorful vocabulary:

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