The Transylvania Times -

Everyday Education: Helping Children To Become Successful Readers


September 25, 2017

Did you know that children who start kindergarten with well-developed early literacy skills have an advantage? Reading is essential to school success. Children who start school with the skills they need before they learn to read have greater success throughout their school years, and the Transylvania County Library supports families in this journey through a variety of activities.

Language development and building literacy skills start from the day a child is born and have a long-lasting impact on children’s reading achievement and academic success. As children grow and develop, their speech and language skills become increasingly more complex. During early speech and language development, children learn skills that are important to the development of literacy (reading and writing). This stage, known as emergent literacy, begins at birth and continues through the preschool years.

At Transylvania County Library, we strive to cultivate a child’s love for reading from birth with our Hullabaloo Storytimes. These early literacy programs are derived from the American Library Association’s Every Child Ready to Read program, a research-based series of practices that can help young children develop essential literacy skills that will help them get ready to read and on the right path to school readiness and student success.

Our Hullabaloo Storytimes are not only geared towards the children, but also towards parents and caregivers, as they are a child’s first and best teachers. Every Child Ready to Read is a parent education initiative that provides strategies parents and caregivers can use to help children from birth to age five get ready to read. There are 5 simple practices that parents and caregivers can do with their child to get them ready to read – talking, singing, reading, writing and playing.

Talking with children helps them learn oral language, one of the most critical early literacy skills. Children learn about language by listening to parents talk and joining in the conversation. On your next walk outside, try talking about what you see, hear and smell.

Singing slows down language so children can hear the different sounds in words, thus developing language skills. Singing also helps children learn new words and information. Don’t worry about singing in perfect pitch – your child won’t mind and will have fun regardless! Check out a children’s music CD from the library and sing and dance with your child.

Reading together develops vocabulary and comprehension, nurtures a love for reading and motivates children to want to learn to read. Try re-reading the same book over and over again. Children learn through repetition. Use open-ended questions to help your child re-tell the sequence of the story.

Writing allows children to become aware that printed letters stand for spoken words as they see print used in their daily lives. Coloring and scribbling are the precursors to drawing shapes and writing letters.

Play is one of the best ways for children to learn language and literacy skills. They learn about language through playing as the activities help them put thoughts into words and talk about what they are doing. Encourage dramatic play! Make up stories with puppets or stuffed animals to help develop important narrative skills.

Who says children can’t play in the library? Not us! The library now has even more play activities for children and their caregivers. In addition to our flannel board and puzzles, we added early literacy activity boxes. The boxes contain activities such as sorting tubes and jars, building bricks, lacing cards and more. Intended for cooperative play between adult and child, the activities can help with fine motor development, color and shape recognition, counting, imaginative play and other important skills to help children get ready to read and write.

Babies, toddlers and preschoolers in all stages of development are invited to celebrate early and emergent literacy with the Youth Services staff at Transylvania County Library. In our Hullabaloo Storytimes, we use the five Every Child Ready to Read practices and model practices for parents. Beginning in October, the library will also be taking our classic Hullabaloo storytime out of the building and into the community with stories, movement and songs. Look for our Out & About Hullabaloos in Rosman and Lake Toxaway.

Check the library’s website at for more information about all of the Hullabaloo programs and schedules. Not only does building these early literacy skills aid with success in school, but it can help to create lifelong learners and productive citizens. It’s never too early or too late to incorporate these practices into your everyday lives. Join our early literacy celebration!

(Erika Brock is Youth Services Librarian at Transylvania County Library.)


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