In a recent article for Reading Today, literacy expert, author and motivational speaker Pam Allyn, shared five ways to enrich literacy learning.
- Read Aloud:
The American Academy of Pediatrics now recommends that children begin hearing read alouds at birth. A six year study by the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research found that reading aloud to children every day puts them almost a year ahead of children who do not receive daily read-alouds. Children should experience a wide variety of genre so they can hear and learn the differences. Books written above their level provide opportunities to hear complex language structure and high level vocabulary. Easy books allow children to simply relax and enjoy. Finally, spending time with children reading aloud is a wonderful bonding experience.
- Encourage Close Reading:
Adults can model critical thinking by encouraging questions and conversations about the illustrations in picture books. Ask questions such as “Why do you think the artist put this in the picture?” or “Is there a hint in the picture of what might happen next?”
Discovering books and knowledge is an exciting process. Celebrate this journey. Encourage children to share favorite books with family and friends. Notice and praise new learning and discoveries that readers of all ages make.
- Hand Them a Pen:
Children who write from a young age will be stronger readers going forward. Allyn suggests using the prompts, “I wonder, I observe, I remember, I imagine” to get kids of all ages storytelling and exploring through talking, scribbling and drawing.
- Honor Each Child’s Unique Identity:
Children become readers by making connections to books. Allyn tells us to “name what you notice about why a child is drawn to a text”. For example, “I notice you like books about animals or books with girls as the main character”. Let children know that individual choices matter.