Posted by: whimsicallibrarians | October 22, 2007

Babies & Stories

I had the opportunity to sit in on one of our newer programs here at the Branch, today. Nursery Rhyme Time is for our very youngest customers and their mom, or grandparent, or caregiver. It was so totally fun!  As a former children’s librarian I know the importance of reading aloud to children.  Early literacy, getting your child ready to read, is one of the best things a parent can begin to do.  Mem Fox, noted children’s author, who wrote “Reading Magic” says, “spend at least ten wildly happy minutes every single day reading aloud!” I love how she says wildly happy.  Is there anything better than that.  Imagine having your child sitting on your lap as you read aloud a perfect board or picture book you’ve chosen from the library.  Have fun with the book, change your voice to different characters if you can, look at the beautiful illustrations, listen to the way the words sound as you read them aloud. Reading aloud to this youngest group helps to foster their great love of reading and stories.  It builds their imagination and as they begin school, they will already have a remarkable vocabulary and the foundation set in place for reading.  Here are 6 skill areas that will help your child begin that journey towards reading.

1. Print motivation means interest in and enjoyment of books. Tip: Begin reading books early-even when your child is a baby.

2. Vocabulary means knowing the names of things. Tip: Read to your children in your first language.  After reading the story through once, go back and pick out different objects to talk about.

3. Letter knowledge is learning that letters look different, and have different names and sounds. Tip: Name different shapes – the ball is round, the box is square, the line is straight.  Letters are built on shapes.  Read ABC Books or books where Letter Sounds are repeated and clear.

4. Print Awareness means learning that in English we read from left to right, and from top to bottom. Tip: If there are only a few words on the page, point to each word as you say it.  Some books are very helpful at showing print or word awareness.

5. Phonological awareness means the ability to hear and manipulate the smaller sounds in words. Tip: Make up your own silly songs and rhymes.  Check out Rhymes & Mother Goose books.

6. Narrative skills means a child’s ability to understand and tell stories. Tip: Talk to your child about the every day things you are doing.  Stories without Words also help your child tell what is happening in a book.

These are just a few ideas for you to think about as you read aloud to your child.  Remember, Library Cards are free.  So if you don’t have one, now is the time to visit us and get one.  When you come into the children’s area find out where we keep all our great books for babies, and make it a point to meet the Children’s Librarian.  She is here to help you and is the best resource you could possibly ask for.

Happy reading!

Nancy

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