Recently, my son (age 7) told another kid his age that there are some interesting things to be learned from “old people”. He explained, “you know, the ones who were alive during the 19’s”. “They know some cool stuff,” he told his buddy … and I hope we can continue to share our ‘old-fashioned’ 20th century wisdom!
When I conceived this series, Take Five for Family Engagement, the goal was to have lists of five apps, websites or tips for families to make the best use of our 21st century digital tools. This list is based on the FIVE early learning practices recommended by Every Child Ready to Read® (ECRR). Young kids need to be engaged in reading, writing, talking, playing and singing for healthy literacy development. We can use these five practices as a lens for selecting healthy media activities to do together with our young children. According to the Every Child Ready to Read® website:
Every Child Ready to Read® (ECRR) is a parent education initiative. Traditionally, early literacy programs at libraries have focused on children. Storytimes and other programs might model strategies that parents can use to develop early literacy skills, but parent education is not typically the primary intent. The Public Library Association (PLA) and Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) concluded that public libraries could have an even greater impact on early literacy through an approach that focused on educating parents and caregivers. If the primary adults in a child’s life can learn more about the importance of early literacy and how to nurture pre-reading skills at home, the effect of library efforts can be multiplied many times. Teaching parents and other caregivers how to support the early literacy development of their children is the basis of Every Child Ready to Read® at your library. When the first edition of ECRR was introduced in 2004, the focus on educating parents and caregivers was a significantly different approach for many libraries; one that certainly has proven its value. This updated and expanded second edition of ECRR provides a new curriculum and materials to continue the effort, supporting parents and caregivers with the early literacy development of their children birth to age five. [Source: ECRR Site]
This joint initiative of the Association for Library Services to Children (ALSC) and the Public Library Association (PLA) (which are divisions of the ALA- America Library Association), along with other literacy activities they sponsor, like Día de Los Niños, create a web of support for families of young children in their efforts to raise readers. The ECRR program focuses on six skills from its first edition, based on the framework from Dr. G. C. Whitehurst and Dr. C. J. Lonigan. Every Child Ready to Read® skills include:
• Print awareness
• Letter knowledge
• Phonological awareness
• Narrative skills
• Print motivation
These six skills were hard to conceptualize for young families, so in the 2nd edition, the six skills were converted to five much more accessible ‘practices’ for caregivers to model. Families can integrate these practices into daily activities, including “joint media engagement”, to enhance early literacy skills in young children. We may not know all the impacts of new media (like tablets & smartphones) on young children, but these guidelines make it easier to focus on developmentally appropriate use of any new technology. As long as we are engaged together with our youngsters – singing, talking, reading, writing and playing – we are supporting their early literacy needs.
Talking with children helps them learn oral language, one of the most critical early literacy skills. The experience of self-expression also stimulates brain development, which underlies all learning.
Singing—which also includes rhyming—increases children’s awareness of and sensitivity to the sounds in words. This helps prepare children to decode print (written language).
Reading together, or shared reading, remains the single most effective way to help children become proficient readers.
Writing and reading go together. Writing helps children learn that letters and words stand for sounds and that print has meaning.
Playing is one of the primary ways young children learn about the world. General knowledge is an important literacy skill that helps children understand books and stories once they begin to read.
[Source: ECRR Site]
So, take five today with your young child. It will be fun! And if you’d like to try an app for some of your playtime, here is a list of recommendations from LittleeLit.com‘s think tank. Check out their blog for more information, great resources and storytime tips.
Apps for Talking: http://edapps4sale.digital-storytime.com/?Talking
Apps for Singing: http://edapps4sale.digital-storytime.com/?Singing
Apps for Reading: http://edapps4sale.digital-storytime.com/?Reading
Apps for Writing: http://edapps4sale.digital-storytime.com/?Writing
Apps for Playing: http://edapps4sale.digital-storytime.com/?Playing