Early Literacy Storytimes workshop

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					Fun and Facts of Early Literacy workshop Presented by Saroj Ghoting 5/10/07 Bellingham Public Library Notes by Maureen Ambrosino, CMRLS 35% of kids enter school w/o skills needed to learn to read. Every Child was created in response to this national crisis. Studies show that for 60% of kids, reading is not an easily acquired skill. 90-95% of poor readers can reach average skills w/early intervention. Only 75% will reach average skills if intervention is delayed until age 9. Knowledge of abc’s at entry into kdg is a strong predictor of reading ability in 10th grade. It’s a flag that other early literacy skills may not be in place. Middle class children enter kindergarten with 1000-1700 hours of one on one picture book reading. low income: 25 hours Every Child program – 3 levels: Early Talkers Talkers Pre-readers Made a big difference with youngest children and with youngest parents. Found they needed to do partnerships and outreach. Also found that people don’t use libraries because of old fines. Focus on parents/caregivers: Researchers - to make a difference in early literacy, it has to happen every day. Parents know children best. Have opportunities for teachable moments all the time. Children model parents’ behavior. Most importantly – the first five years set the stage. Put name tags on the parents too! It’s important to know their names as well. Also makes them feel part of the storytime too and helps eliminate some of the chattering. Brain development: Babies are born learning and what they learn is up to us. Have to be sensitive to parents with more than one child when talking about this because of the idea that if they didn’t do these things with their older child it’s too late. It’s not too late – also good parents feel guilty easily. Want to help them understand their child’s behavior from the developmental standpoint. Higher levels of serotonin in the brain cause synapses to form in the brain. Seratonin is produced when the child feels loved, safe. Cortisol, a hormone, inhibits those connections. Cortisol is produced due to high levels of stress. What is early literacy?

What children know about reading and writing before they can read and write. It is NOT the teaching of reading, or teaching two year old how to read. It’s laying the foundation so they are ready. Reading is not instinctive, it’s learned – need parents to take a role in the process. 6 early literacy skills: Print motivation – child’s interest in & enjoyment of reading Vocabulary – knows what the words mean Narrative skills – can tell a story Print awareness – knows words have meaning Phonological awareness – hearing and playing w/smaller sounds in words Letter knowledge – recognize them, understand they have sounds Highlight one skill during storytime – a few asides and a link to home. Print motivation So important and not included in many programs. People assume that it will be there but that’s not necessarily true. If experience around books is negative or interactions become power struggle, child associates books with negativity. More important for interaction to be enjoyable rather than long. Ways to highlight print motivation – let child see you reading. At least one storytime book should be read pleasantly, slowly and cheerfully. Show parents that they can do it too. With babies – they will chew on them, so give them a rattle or another book to chew on so you can read to them. Don’t scold them for chewing on it. When storytime falls apart, it’s ok to stop in the middle of a book. Explain that kids have lost attention, might like to hear it another time or at home. This gives them “permission” to stop a book in the middle at home if child loses interest. Tell children why this is one of your favorite books. Tell parents repetition is important and to keep it fun, don’t get academic as they get closer to school. If it’s fun they will want to do it more. Vocabulary Knowing the names of things. Important b/c you use vocabulary when child is trying to sound out things. Kids who are spoken to more often have much large vocabulary by age 2. Frequency makes a difference. Encourage parents to “narrate their life” – say what they are doing as they’re doing it, and do the same w/ what their child is doing. As they get older they learn words for concepts and

feelings (over, under & through by tana hoban). Feelings – Benny Bakes a Cake. Encourage parents to talk to children about their feelings by giving them the words and letting them express it. Nonfiction gives children different vocabulary than stories, and some children who won’t sit through a story will sit through a “true book”. Conversation – 9 rare words per 1000 vs children’s picture books with 27 rare words per 1000. Use the unfamiliar word – don’t replace it. Use the picture to explain it, let them get the idea from the words, or briefly explain it. Narrative skills Encourage parents to talk WITH their baby. Important to wait for a response, takes longer for them to respond than older kids or adults. 4 parts of brain have to work together to reply. Learning language – need 5-12 seconds to respond. Adults tend to wait about 2 seconds … then ask another question! Child doesn’t know which question to respond to. Saying things in sequence – easier for kids to retell the story if it progresses in a sequence (Pumpkin Pumpkin or Little Red Hen for example) Read a story then have kids help retell it using flannelboard. Craft projects can help them retell the story and as a way for parents to interact with their kids. Adding “talk time” to the program – children told parents about something on a signal, then stop on signal. Signal given again for parents’ turn to begin/stop. Give an aside about talking with your child develops narrative skills. Can use the same book for different storytimes with different themes so parents can see you talking about it in multiple ways. Talkers 2-3 year olds Dialogic (hear and say) Reading More appropriate for one-on-one reading. Can talk about it/model it during craft time or informal times, or offer it as a strategy for parents who say their child won’t sit still for books. Child becomes teller of the story, adult becomes listener and questioner. Child needs about 50 words of expressive vocabulary to do this style of reading. If they can respond rather than just repeat what you say, they are ready. Ask “what” questions. Acknowledge their response, repeat it and add more information. Ask open ended questions: what do you think will happen next? (no wrong answers) Great way to use wordless picture books but you can do dialogic reading with regular books too. Trying to relate what’s going on in the book to the child’s experience. Follow child’s lead. From our experience doing dialogic reading with partners:  It’s hard!  Feel “stuck” to the page  Trying so hard not to ask yes/no questions

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Tend to look for the right answer Child-oriented – can’t do true dialogic reading with large groups Could be part of the storytime (ex: at end, instead of craft, had dialogic reading)

Non native English speakers: encourage parents to speak to children in the language they’re most comfortable. Children need to hear a language spoken fluently so the child hears fluent language and so the child hears ideas that parents may not know the equivalent in English. If child knows concepts, they can later translate it to English. Print awareness Noticing print everywhere, knowing how to handle a book, knowing how we follow the words on a page, knowing print has meaning. Research shows prereaders focus 95% of visual attention on the pictures. To highlight it: tell parents to point out signs. Why did I stop here? (stop sign) My Friend Rabbit – print and text both turn vertically during the story. When parents write lists, encourage kids to write them too. Phonological awareness Because children can hear a sound at the beginning of a word doesn’t mean that can hear it in the middle or at the end of a word. Researchers: phonological awareness begins to develop during preschool years. For those who have trouble, they need parents/teachers to help by playing word games. Most children who have trouble with reading have trouble with phonological awareness. The beginning of phonological awareness is being able to hear sounds. Sound words – beep, sniff, moo Rhyme is great for phonological awareness. Easier to recognize a rhyme than it is to make a rhyme. Songs – different notes for each syllable. Child is hearing the words broken down into parts through songs. Singing with them is helping them learn parts of words. Games for phonological awareness – word play. 4s and 5s love silly word play. Play an I-spy game using a sound (I spy something in this picture that rhymes with coat (boat) or I spy something that starts with the sound “b”). Letter knowledge Knowing that letters are different from each other, that they have different names and are related to sounds. Need to recognize what’s alike and what’s different, and that some differences make the letter sound change. Help this by letting child match socks, match coupon with a product in the store. Oriental Trading has $15 magnetic big alphabet set – fun to put out after storytime for play.

Hopefully parents will see the fun their kids are having with letters and not do so much “skill and drill”. Ways to highlight – alphabet books Communicating with parents/caregivers in storytimes Feeling comfortable – some librarians worry that parents will see them as experts and then ask them questions they can’t answer. Tell the parent you’ll find out and get back to them, or take them to the parenting section of the library. Use the reading teachers at the school as a resource if they ask you questions about reading problems with their older children.  Role of storytime has changed – years ago, you had to be 4 to go to storytime. Big thing was to be away from your mom, learning how to behave in a group. Now it’s almost the opposite. We need to respond to needs of society now. Concern about sounding condescending – find another way to share the information. In a group setting, each person will take what they need from the information you give. If we know this information, we would be remiss not to share it with parents and caregivers. You never know how it is going to help someone. Concern that it will change the “fun” of storytime – a few “asides” should not affect the fun of the program. Sharing that info will take the pressure off parents and give them good information that relates to what we’re doing in storytime. Concern that when you give an “aside” to parents you’ll lose the kids. They will wait! They wait while we fiddle with CDs or look for the next book. Because we’re concentrating on the message we’re afraid we’ll lose the kids, but we really won’t.


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Tips and examples: Early Literacy Tip of the Day as part of the introduction at the beginning of storytime. Say what the skill of the day is, and that you’ll point out some examples during the program. Multnomah County Library has a great Early Literacy Tips poster. Use a puppet to talk about the early literacy tip. That will get the attention of the kids and adults. Put it on a Post It on the back of the book so you don’t forget what to say. Name tags on the parents

Craft/Activity Ideas Try to relate it to something you’ve done in storytime. Spatial relationship activity using flannelboard – follow up with a duplicate activity they can take home. Felt square glued to inside of pocket folder makes a take-home flannelboard. Give them pieces for it at later times. Rhyming concentration game. Say it slow/say it fast game Take a small box and glue pictures from discarded picture books on the sides. Roll it like dice. Child has to think of a word that rhymes with the picture. Can do similar with narrative skills using pictures that tell a story – person rolls it and tells a story about what’s going on in the picture. Make “talking” puppets out of paper – kids can retell the story using the character. Need to have enough crafts so there are one per person. Adults and children are getting the materials so the parent doesn’t do the child’s craft. Don’t cut them all out the same way. If characters are going in different directions they will be able to talk to each other. Find as many ways as possible to get the parents interacting.

Your Early Literacy Enhanced Storytime How will it look different?  More props to get kids involved  How you view the parents and their role  Parents will be involved  Including the parent tips  Enjoyment/fun aspect conveyed  Training for parents  Early literacy handouts or tips included on existing handouts  Training for child care providers  Fewer items (stories, songs etc) to focus on ones you’re repeating  Songs and rhymes included for their value, not just a stretch break

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Librarians will have to know the referrals in their town so when parents ask questions about child development delays, for example, they know who to refer them to. Physically point out the titles of the books Displays of books that reflect the storytime theme and others that are good to reinforce the skill of the week.

When the Caregiver or Parent is Not Present Child care providers need this info too! They are our partners with the parents. If parents aren’t in the room during storytime but come in for craft, share the tip of the day during craft time. www.kdl.org/pgr/activities.asp has activities to cut and paste to your handouts for parents – send these home with the kids Give handouts to child care providers to give to parents when they pick up their child. Post copies and other info on their bulletin boards.

Institutionalizing Early Literacy Provide workshops for adults Include information on the website One on one interactions with parents Info on early literacy in parent/teacher collection Babies in the SRP – starbuck’s coupon for completion

Storytime Observation Checklist to evaluate storytime Resources ALA Every Child Ready to Read website  Workshop materials o Page contains scripts, handouts, posters, and parent brochures(to use with the workshops not as general handouts) o Each script has Word, PDF and Powerpoint o Handouts in pdf  Resources o Free/inexpensive materials o Multnomah County poster o Playing with Words on the Go cards o Brain development and Early Literacy Materials section has a great bibliography of books and annotated websites – you can cut and

paste this info into your own web page and create an Early Literacy page on your site. Research that Every Child is based on is the same research used for No Child Left Behind. Evidence-based research. We can offer it in a less imposing atmosphere than our school districts. You might be able to get $$ from school district grants because what you’re doing in storytime is based on the same research they’re using in school to get grant support. Starting Out Right and Straight Talk About Reading – for educators – connection from early literacy to later academic success. Reading Right From the Start - $3 – tips for parents for the first 5 years of life how they can build early literacy skills. Important to use the correct terminology in storytime because studies found that parents changed behavior because it had “big words” so therefore “must be important.” Saroj’s website: www.earlylit.net Links to activity cards, parent letters, callout posters, workshop handouts from today. (workshops-fun and facts of early literacy-handouts) Download, cut and paste, change whatever you want, put it on your own handouts. Keep books and reading positive! Number of language interactions – in any language – is what’s important. What we do in libraries is so important!

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