Director's Message - Summer 2009

Posted: Monday, June 1, 2009, 2:47 pm

I thought I'd share this recent picture of me reading to my two young grandsons.

Meribah Mansfield reading to her grandsonsOwen, who is nearing three-years old, and Connor, who is 18 months, are constantly in motion. When they do finally sit still for more than a minute, I'm ready with a book to share.

In this case, it's the classic Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown. Reading to young children is one of the most important things you can do to give them a good start in life. Knowing how to read, as well as understanding and interpreting what you've read, is essential to academic and professional success.

A study of early childhood literacy found that 76 percent of children who were read to at least three times per week had mastered letter-sound relationships before entering kindergarten.

The mastery of letter-sound relationships (knowing the letters of the alphabet and that each letter makes a different sound) is one of six early literacy skills children should have before entering kindergarten. The others include: print motivation (a love of books); print awareness (being able to use books and knowing how words flow from left to right on a page); vocabulary (knowing different words and their meanings); narrative skills (being able to describe things and events to tell stories); and phonological awareness (being able to hear and play with the smaller sounds in words).

Mastering these skills is an essential first step in learning how to read and children can begin to acquire them as soon as they are born.

I know many parents are concerned about making the right decisions and providing their children with every advantage, but there's no reason to worry. If you do some of the following activities, you are well on your way to preparing your child to read:

  • Read bedtime stories to your child and point to some of the words
  • Let your child see you reading and enjoying books, magazines or the newspaper
  • Recite simple rhymes or songs
  • Point out road signs while driving in the car
  • Allow your baby to flip through (or chew) the pages of a board book
  • Talk about what is happening throughout the day
  • Attend a storytime program at the Library

Whether you are the parent of a young child or not, the promotion of early childhood literacy is a cause I believe the whole community can support. Preparing children to read and having them grow up to be thoughtful consumers of information ultimately benefits everyone. For more information on early childhood literacy and developing ready-to-read skills in your child, please visit Worthington Libraries or call 614-807-2626.

— Meribah Mansfield

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