A handy, easy-to-use guide that gives parents proven strategies to help young children get hooked on reading. From the earliest age, children respond to stimuli that prepare them to enjoy books and reading. This guide illustrates how parents and caregivers can foster a love of reading from the time a baby is born. Whether it’s listening to the rhythmic cadence of chants and nursery rhymes, looking at brightly colored pictures, or listening to stories, children learn to associate reading with the warm and happy experience of spending time with a parent, grandparent, or caregiver. Filled with rhymes, songs, and games, Let’s Get Ready for Reading provides tons of suggestions for engaging kids, from using different voices for the characters in a book to helping them recognize shapes in preparation for learning the alphabet. A look at developmental milestones helps parents adapt strategies to the age of the child, while dozens of recommended books take out the guesswork during the next visit to the library or bookstore.
About the author
The Research Virtuoso was developed by a team of experts within the Toronto Public Library team. The contributors have extensive backgrounds as educators, librarians, and authors of award-winning publications on research.
- Joint winner, Best Books for Kids & Teens, *starred selection, Canadian Children’s Book Centre
Excerpt: Let's Get Ready for Reading (by (author) Toronto Public Library)
Liking Books! Children who enjoy books will want to learn to read • Enjoying books together every day is the first step toward developing a love of reading. Start the day your child is born. • Positive, fun and playful experiences with books and stories foster a desire to read and encourage your child to keep trying to read. • This chapter offers some ideas and activities to help you give your child a love of books.
Developmental milestones Each child is unique, but you may observe these signs that your child is interested in language, books and reading. Babies: • Respond to your voice and facial expressions • Start to look at picture books with interest and try pointing to objects Toddlers: • May pretend to read books themselves • Begin to understand how to handle books Preschoolers: • Enjoy listening to and talking about storybooks • Make attempts to read and write.
Action rhymes Children love rhymes with actions. ZOOM, ZOOM, ZOOM Here’s a rhyme that you can do with any child. Gently bounce or rock your baby and lift her into the air at “Blast off.” Older children can learn to follow the actions. Zoom, zoom, zoom, We’re going to the moon. (Point up into the sky) Zoom, zoom, zoom, (Standing, rub hands upward) We’re going to the moon. (Point up into the sky) If you want to take a trip, Climb aboard my rocket ship. (Pretend to climb a ladder) Zoom, zoom, zoom, (Standing, rub hands upward) We’re going to the moon. 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, (Slowly crouch down) Blast off!!! (Jump up!)
Ready for Reading Guide (p. 66-67) Research Section Commitment to literacy Every parent wants their child to succeed. Compelling studies show that to succeed in school, a child needs to be literate. Children begin to learn literacy skills as soon as they are born, long before they enter school. With your help as their first and best teachers, your children can start acquiring important literacy skills from birth.
Toronto Public Library, a leader in early literacy services in the community, modelled the Ready for Reading program and services on the American Library Association’s initiative Every Child Ready to Read @ the Library. Both are library-based programs that enlist parents and caregivers as key players in promoting early childhood literacy, giving them the information and the tools they need to help their children acquire the necessary skills.
Every Child Ready to Read and Toronto Public Library’s Ready for Reading are founded on research into areas as diverse as national literacy statistics, school readiness studies, stages of brain development and early childhood development.
Literacy Adult literacy is a persistent problem, even in developed countries like the United States. According to the National Assessment of Adult Literacy, 43% of Americans read only at grade 8 level or below. Low literacy can limit academic and career prospects, as well as the ability to cope in a modern society.
School readiness Research shows that an astonishing number of children are ill-prepared for school. The groundwork for success is laid by parents at home. Simple things such as reading regularly with your child, talking, using new words and making books available at home can help overcome potentially negative setbacks, such as low socio-economic status. The relationship between the skills children have when they enter school and their later academic performance is striking. Children who start school without the necessary skills typically stay behind.
Brain development in early childhood Scientists have found that the architecture of the brain develops in stages beginning before birth, and each stage of development builds on the previous one. In the first years of life, connections between brain synapses are made at an astounding rate. This is the time when they are learning not only to crawl and walk, but also to make their first attempts to speak, relate to the world around them and problem solve. The more you communicate with your child in a supportive stimulating and nurturing environment, the more you nurture their brain development. Repeated messages mean more and stronger neural connections will be formed. And the easiest way to do this is by talking, reading singing playing and writing with your child. This is a great way to build a solid foundation for future learning.
Literacy in early childhood The Every Child Ready to Read initiative, which Toronto Public Library’s Ready for Reading program is based on, demonstrates how to create simple, literacy rich environments and experiences that are enjoyable and playful. It also emphasizes the importance of parents and caregivers as a child’s first and best teacher, and suggests that everyday simple activities, such as talking, reading, singing, playing, and writing, help build pre-reading skills in children.
As new information comes forward, Toronto Public Library continues to make adjustments to its Ready for Reading programs based on the research.
Ready for Reading programs are built on these principles: • Parents and caregivers are a child’s first and best teachers, and the home is where the child begins to learn. • Communication begins at birth. • The parent-child relationship is the basis of the child’s success. • Parents and caregivers will benefit from knowing about their child’s stages of development in language and literacy. • Children learn through play. • Everyday simple activities, talking, reading, singing, playing, and writing, help build pre-reading skills. • The library supports and complements what families can do at home.