By Osceola Library Staff
You may have heard the term early literacy and wonder, what does that mean? Early literacy is a continuous developmental process that starts at birth, teaching a child to read, write, and understand language. This process includes positively interacting with your child by listening, speaking, and reading through the enjoyment of books and creating literacy-rich experiences.
Babies learn language through social literacy experiences. There are some amazing benefits to reading aloud to your child, like building listening skills, increasing attention span, and improving their ability to concentrate. Additionally, reading aloud fosters a natural curiosity and develops creativity and imagination. Children are able to expand their horizons through exposure to new situations, teaching appropriate behavior, and diminishing fear. When a child is able to express themselves more confidently, they are given tools that will help them succeed in school and life, and reading aloud to your child is the single most important activity for literacy development and eventual reading success.
Did you know that reading just 20 minutes daily can provide your child with 600 hours of “brain food” before starting Kindergarten?
There are six easy steps you can take to help get your child ready to read:
- First, Read! Read with your child and keep books everywhere. Keep them in different rooms in your home, in the car, in the diaper bag, and anywhere else you regularly visit. Make sure that your book sharing time together is enjoyable.
- Second, Look! Point to printed words and run your finger along the text while reading. Show them print in your surrounding environment at the store or as you walk around.
- Third, Talk! Expose and explain to your child words they may not be familiar with and read them non-fiction (informational) books as well.
- Fourth, Tell! Encourage your child to retell stories, describe events that happened, act stories out together, and relate stories you read to experiences and situations familiar to them.
- Fifth, Play! Sing the alphabet song, point out letters and their sounds, and have your child make letters with their body, hands, or fingers.
- Sixth, Sing! Invite your child to chime in while you read and sing a variety of songs.
To help you on your journey of raising your reader, the dedicated youth staff at the Osceola Library System provide regularly scheduled story times and themed programs throughout the year for parents and children to attend together that help promote early literacy and a love of reading. Starting in November the Library is joining a national initiative called “1000 Books Before Kindergarten”. They are launching this incentive program with a special visit from Pete the Cat at five Library locations! Participants will log books using Beanstack, an app available free with your Library card, to earn virtual badges and a chance to add your child’s handprint to the Library’s brand new Trees of Literacy banners upon completion.
Check out the Library’s online calendar at www.OsceolaLibrary.org for a schedule of these classes as well as dates and times of other special classes and events for children.
Baby & Me
Hug your little one while sharing this special first-time experience. This story time introduces books with playtime and repetitive music. Ages Birth-18 months old.
Toddle in for stories, songs, and more engaging activities that build emerging language skills. Ages 18 months – 3 years old.
Great Beginnings Storytime
Encourage your child’s love of reading with great books and
enrichment activities that build early literacy skills. Ages 18 months-5 years
Mother Goose Storytime
Stories, songs and craft activity to build early literacy skills; a blend of entertainment and education for families. Ages 18 months-5 years old.
Preschool Storybook Fun
Encourage your child’s love of reading with great books and enrichment activities that build early literacy skills. Ages 3 – 5 years old.