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May 8, 2017 Raising a Reader: Early Literacy Reinforcement From a Librarian’s Perspective By Elaine Winter
Grades PreK–K

    This week, I have the honor of co-authoring a blog with Kendra Tyson, library media specialist at New York University’s Steinhardt School of Education. Twice a month, Tyson visits our preschool to read stories and teach rhymes and finger plays. Much of her work focuses on supporting parents and caregivers in natural, everyday literacy-building activities. She holds regular story hours open to the public, in addition to her work with the University.

    According to Tyson, “Literacy is alive and present in nearly every moment of a young child’s life. From the words they hear, to the stories they enjoy, and songs they sing, from shared dramatic play, to book browsing and drawing on paper and chalk boards… all of these are rich language-building activities that young children enjoy throughout their day.”

     


     

    We all know how invested most parents are in their children’s literacy growth. Some focus on teaching (and singing) the alphabet, “What letter is this?” and “What does c-a-t spell?” Sometimes these parents “teach” because they‘re not fully aware of the myriad ways in which they organically create a literacy-rich home environment. It may be there, but they may not see it.


    At the heart of language acquisition and literacy readiness are those short, meaningful conversations in which adult and child listen and respond to each other, and the narration of simple home tasks that underscore an everyday process or sequence. As teachers, Tyson reminds us, we have many opportunities to highlight these ways parents intuitively support their children’s language acquisition. We can also be powerful mentors by sharing book recommendations and sending home words to songs and rhymes sung in the classroom.

     

    Meanwhile, back in the classroom...

    An effective way to extend early literacy practice is to conduct multi-modal story times in which songs, rhymes, and play accompany book read-alouds. Thematically pairing books with songs or rhymes is a powerful way to engage more deeply with young learners, augmenting meaning, and providing context.

    At story time, we can weave in a related song or rhyme. A good example of this is the time-honored Over in the Meadow, which appears in beautifully illustrated publications, and can be sung as its pages turn. Our children have a great time with A-Hunting We Will Go, a musical collection of silly repetitive rhymes. Without fail, the highlight is, “We’ll find a bear and put him in underwear … and then we’ll let him go!”

    Tyson reports the following: “Recognizing the key role that parents and caregivers play in a child’s emergent literacy growth, children’s librarians have embraced an early literacy methodology called Every Child Ready to Read (ECRR). ECRR introduces parents to five pillars of practice: Talking, Singing, Reading, Writing, and Playing. No one element is more important than the other. Helping parents and caregivers support early literacy development through interaction with these five practices is the basis for ECRR. As a children’s media specialist, I’m delighted to have an opportunity to share this with early childhood teachers; you are the ones who connect with parents most often. You can do so much to support parents in their pursuit of emergent literacy practice and school readiness with their children.”


    All too often nursery rhymes fall by the wayside in early childhood classrooms. Their references are dated and their verses are too brief to stand on their own. The ECRR process encourages us to wed rhyme with story, extending children’s interest through interactive playful participation. Preschoolers can be glued to the experience for up to 20 minutes. The model respects children’s wishes to join in and become a part of the process. It encourages focused participation and provides multiple opportunities for language acquisition and contextual vocabulary support. What is most remarkable about a multi-modal story time is that teachers and children will share in the fun!

    Teachers, parents, caregivers, AND librarians — we all play a part in helping young children fall in love with books and stories! Through talking and listening, singing and miming, reading and rhyming, we make literacy come alive and invite children in!


    Here are a few favorite pairings that Tyson uses in her story times at New York University:

    1. Read: "Black? White! Day? Night!" by Laura Vaccaro Seeger and Dot, by Patricia Intriago
     Recite and repeat this opposite rhyme twice with appropriate motions:
        This is big, big, big     
        This is small, small, small
        This is short, short, short
        This is tall, tall, tall
        This is fast, fast, fast
        This is slow, slow, slow
        This is yes, yes, yes
        This is no, no, no

    2. Read: One Gorilla: A Counting Book, by Atsuko Morozumi and Ten in the Bed, by Penny Dale
     Sing: “1 Little, 2 Little, 3 Little Fingers”

    3. Read: Three Little Peas, by Marine Rivoal
     Recite and repeat twice with appropriate motions: "My Garden":
        Here is my garden; I rake it with care
        And then some seeds we’ll plant in there.
        The sun will shine; the rain will fall
        My seeds will sprout and grow up tall.

    This week, I have the honor of co-authoring a blog with Kendra Tyson, library media specialist at New York University’s Steinhardt School of Education. Twice a month, Tyson visits our preschool to read stories and teach rhymes and finger plays. Much of her work focuses on supporting parents and caregivers in natural, everyday literacy-building activities. She holds regular story hours open to the public, in addition to her work with the University.

    According to Tyson, “Literacy is alive and present in nearly every moment of a young child’s life. From the words they hear, to the stories they enjoy, and songs they sing, from shared dramatic play, to book browsing and drawing on paper and chalk boards… all of these are rich language-building activities that young children enjoy throughout their day.”

     


     

    We all know how invested most parents are in their children’s literacy growth. Some focus on teaching (and singing) the alphabet, “What letter is this?” and “What does c-a-t spell?” Sometimes these parents “teach” because they‘re not fully aware of the myriad ways in which they organically create a literacy-rich home environment. It may be there, but they may not see it.


    At the heart of language acquisition and literacy readiness are those short, meaningful conversations in which adult and child listen and respond to each other, and the narration of simple home tasks that underscore an everyday process or sequence. As teachers, Tyson reminds us, we have many opportunities to highlight these ways parents intuitively support their children’s language acquisition. We can also be powerful mentors by sharing book recommendations and sending home words to songs and rhymes sung in the classroom.

     

    Meanwhile, back in the classroom...

    An effective way to extend early literacy practice is to conduct multi-modal story times in which songs, rhymes, and play accompany book read-alouds. Thematically pairing books with songs or rhymes is a powerful way to engage more deeply with young learners, augmenting meaning, and providing context.

    At story time, we can weave in a related song or rhyme. A good example of this is the time-honored Over in the Meadow, which appears in beautifully illustrated publications, and can be sung as its pages turn. Our children have a great time with A-Hunting We Will Go, a musical collection of silly repetitive rhymes. Without fail, the highlight is, “We’ll find a bear and put him in underwear … and then we’ll let him go!”

    Tyson reports the following: “Recognizing the key role that parents and caregivers play in a child’s emergent literacy growth, children’s librarians have embraced an early literacy methodology called Every Child Ready to Read (ECRR). ECRR introduces parents to five pillars of practice: Talking, Singing, Reading, Writing, and Playing. No one element is more important than the other. Helping parents and caregivers support early literacy development through interaction with these five practices is the basis for ECRR. As a children’s media specialist, I’m delighted to have an opportunity to share this with early childhood teachers; you are the ones who connect with parents most often. You can do so much to support parents in their pursuit of emergent literacy practice and school readiness with their children.”


    All too often nursery rhymes fall by the wayside in early childhood classrooms. Their references are dated and their verses are too brief to stand on their own. The ECRR process encourages us to wed rhyme with story, extending children’s interest through interactive playful participation. Preschoolers can be glued to the experience for up to 20 minutes. The model respects children’s wishes to join in and become a part of the process. It encourages focused participation and provides multiple opportunities for language acquisition and contextual vocabulary support. What is most remarkable about a multi-modal story time is that teachers and children will share in the fun!

    Teachers, parents, caregivers, AND librarians — we all play a part in helping young children fall in love with books and stories! Through talking and listening, singing and miming, reading and rhyming, we make literacy come alive and invite children in!


    Here are a few favorite pairings that Tyson uses in her story times at New York University:

    1. Read: "Black? White! Day? Night!" by Laura Vaccaro Seeger and Dot, by Patricia Intriago
     Recite and repeat this opposite rhyme twice with appropriate motions:
        This is big, big, big     
        This is small, small, small
        This is short, short, short
        This is tall, tall, tall
        This is fast, fast, fast
        This is slow, slow, slow
        This is yes, yes, yes
        This is no, no, no

    2. Read: One Gorilla: A Counting Book, by Atsuko Morozumi and Ten in the Bed, by Penny Dale
     Sing: “1 Little, 2 Little, 3 Little Fingers”

    3. Read: Three Little Peas, by Marine Rivoal
     Recite and repeat twice with appropriate motions: "My Garden":
        Here is my garden; I rake it with care
        And then some seeds we’ll plant in there.
        The sun will shine; the rain will fall
        My seeds will sprout and grow up tall.

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