Early literacy is what kids know about reading and writing before they actually read and write. Parents and caregivers are important in helping their children get ready to read because they know their children best; children learn best when they are in a good mood -- parents know their moods; parents understand the easiest way their children will learn; and children learn best by doing and they enjoy doing things with parents.
Every Child Ready to Read @ Your Library, a project of the Public Library Association and the Association for Library Service to Children, offers tips for those who want to help kids get ready to read. Libraries also help parents and caregivers prepare preschoolers for reading by offering a wide variety of stimulating activities and a large collection of books for infants and toddlers.
Mary Knapp coordinates the Motheread®/Fatheread® program for the Fairfax County Public Library Foundation, Inc. (cosponsored by the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities). She gives the example of a teen mother in one of her classes who was excited to learn about the benefits of reading to her baby.
“I didn’t believe it when I was told my nine-month-old baby would like to be read to,” she told Knapp. “But I took that book home and read it to her and I made the dog sounds, and then my daughter started making dog sounds, and then she bounced and danced up and down when I read the rest of the books!”
For more on how to raise an avid reader, talk with a children’s librarian at your branch.