Every Child Read to Read is an early literacy program targeted at educating parents and caregivers. Rather than focusing early literacy skills towards the children alone, it seeks to teach parents how to nurture pre-reading skills once they leave the library. All storytime activities nurture one or several of the skills that prepare a child to read, but I find when I create a storytime especially mindful of the impact of these skills, I can better articulate to caregivers why the fun we're having is actually making their child a future reader as well as set my audience on a path towards becoming a great reader.
Get Ready to Read with: READING
Seems self-explanatory, doesn't it? Yet it's important to remember that that the best way to create a future, happy reader is to build positive experiences around books. By watching you read, they will learn how print looks and how to use a book.
How to use this in Storytime:
Pick fun books worth sharing, use your fingers to indicate that you read left to right, discuss what is happening in the pictures.
Get Ready to Read with: TALKING
Children build their spoken vocabulary long before they build their reading vocabulary. The more words a child has been introduced to, the better prepared they are for reading and writing those words later.
How to use this in Storytime:
Don't shy away from those big words in books. Ask them if they think they know what they mean. Choose big varieties in the stories you present, you never know when you're introducing a new concept, animal, feeling, or experience for a child!
Get Ready to Read with: SINGING
In a song, every syllable is a note. It slows down language and words so that children can make out every song (or phoneme, to use a fancy term). This will help with sounding out later in life!
How to use this in Storytime: Songs are the perfect transition in-between books. Have you ever noticed that even in the noisiest restaurant, the room quiets as soon as someone starts the first notes of "Happy Birthday"? Sometimes Storytime can feel just as unruly as a crowded restaurant, but you'll get the kids eyes on you with a song AND help them with early literacy skills at the same time.
Get Ready to Read with: WRITING
But how to do you write before you read? Our pre-readers need to learn that both writing and reading communicate something. Even early talkers can sing you the ABC song, but learning that those letters they are saying make words is important!
How to use this in Storytime: Kids express most of their "writing" with pictures, so anytime you can encourage this is great, but any time you can incorporate letter awareness is also a bonus! I love to use variations of the song BINGO (any 5 letter word works!) by writing those letters on the board and pointing to each one we are singing, and asking which letter I have to remove.
Get Ready to Read with: PLAYING
Reading is all about symbols: words and illustrations are symbols that help tell a story. One of the first ways a child becomes a story-teller themselves is through playing. If a child can grasp that a hunk of mud is a cake, then they can sooner grasp that a group of lines spells a word.
How to use this in Storytime: Fingerplays often ask a child to pretend that their fingers are 5 kittens or monkeys or leprechauns or wherever the imagination takes them!
With these skills in mind, you can build your storytime with bigger goals than just sharing a book, but sharing the gift of reading! You can also model behaviors that parents can easily replicate at home, and let them know why it's important.
For more information on Every Child Ready To Read, visit their website: