Storytime Helps Build Literacy Skills
Reading to a young child is an important part of his or her cognitive development. A supplement to reading, such as storytime and visiting the library or bookstore on a regular basis, plays an even larger role in helping build literacy skills.
Introducing Books at an Early Age Is Key
A report by the National Early Literacy Panel concludes that the writing and reading skills a child develops between birth and five years old impacts his or her conventional literacy skills later in life. The study also points to six attributes or building blocks of early literacy skills that also have a great impact on a child's development of reading and writing. Since most children don't attend school before the age of four or five, it is important for them to develop these skills at home or elsewhere.
Public libraries and bookstores across the country offer a variety of sessions or storytimes dedicated to teaching young ones about books and how their stories can improve a child's love for reading and writing. If a child learns about reading and other literacy skills at an early age, the further ahead he or she is when it comes time to start school.
Storytime is typically a free program offered by public libraries and local bookstores as a way for parents to introduce their children to reading and language. Besides listening to a story, there are also a variety of activities that help promote development and learning. Each level of storytime has age-appropriate activities such as playing with puppets, listening, dancing and singing to music and doing arts and crafts.
Storytimes are usually divided into three age groups:
- Baby (up to 18 months)
- Toddler (18 months to 3 years old)
- Preschool (3 to 5 years old)
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Storytime Characteristics that Influence Literacy Skills
When a child attends storytime or similar event, a number of factors that contribute to successful reading are introduced:
- Vocabulary: Knowing the names of objects and places around them
- Print Motivation: Having an interest in books, printing, coloring and taking trips to the library
- Print Awareness: Understanding the basic rules of printing such as left to right and top to bottom
- Narrative Skills: Being able to comprehend and tell stories, as well as describe a simple event
- Letter Knowledge: Learning the names and sounds of letters
- Phonological Awareness: Comprehending the certain sounds that make up a words
Start Your Own Storytime
If attending a local storytime is not possible, try your hand at starting your own. Recruit other moms with children of the same age to share stories and activities and rotate homes each week.
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