Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Every Child Ready to Read

Posted by Heather at Wednesday, December 07, 2011
For the past eight weeks, Katy and I have participated in the Cabarrus County Library's "Every Child Ready to Read" program. Every other Tuesday evening, we took part in an hour-long session with the Library's Family Literacy coordinator, Ms. Kimberly, We talked, sang, read, wrote and played our way to learning how to better prepare our children the basic fundamentals of reading before they reach Kindergarten.

According to the program, there are seven pre-literacy skills that each child should have before entering Kindergarten. They are:

1. Phonological Awareness
2. Letter Knowledge
3. Print Awareness/Print Conventions
4. Narrative Skills
5. Vocabulary
6. Print Motivation
7. Background Knowledge

While the above set of skills use big words, it basically breaks down to the fact that you should introduce your child to letters, number and the enjoyment of reading- books, signs, letters, etc.- from early on. Reading and talking to your child is the number one determining factor in a child's success rate at school.

Our class was small- just one other neighbor boy, Caelin, who took all four classes with us and another little girl who attended two classes- and we got lots of hands-on time. Together, we read stories and learned how to make reading enjoyable, fun and exciting to our not-yet-reading toddlers.

Even though Ted and I make reading a priority in our home (how could we not with both mothers being teachers- mine being a reading coach?!), I still learned a lot through the workshop. I learned about different ways to approach reading- singing, acting out, through activity and interaction. The workshop was also good at guiding me to the "next step" in Katy's at-home, everyday education. For example, since taking this class, we've been making a more concentrated effort to have Katy narrate her day to Ted, to "use her big girl words" instead of just pointing and whining, and to use normal, adult words (not just "dumb down" our vocabulary) when speaking and conversing with Katy and with others.

Now, for a little bragging. :-) According to the workshop, an average 24 month old should have about 300 words in their vocabulary. While I haven't sat down to count each and every word that Katy speaks on a regular basis, in the correct context, I know that Katy talks ALOT!! I can carry on conversations with her and I've found that she's a fun and funny little girl (she's got her Daddy's sense of humor- thank goodness!)! Katy's gotten pretty good at letting us know what she needs and wants. She can tell us if something hurts and/or if she needs/wants something. Katy is at the stage where she'll parrot back whatever she hears, so we definitely need to mind our p's and q's.

Yesterday, my back was really hurting. Sometime in the afternoon, I said aloud, "My back hurts- I'm just getting old and decrepit." Later, when we were playing, Katy was being a little rough for my poor back's condition and I told Katy, "Mommy's back hurts." Katy replied, "Back hurts? Kiss, kiss!" After she proceeded to kiss my back- because when doesn't a kiss make everything better?!- she then said, "Mommy 'crepit." Great! My toddler thinks I'm old! Ha- Hilarious!


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