Promoting Literacy

As parents, most of us have heard how important it is to encourage a love of reading and writing early in our children’s developmental process.  The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) defines literacy as the “ability to identify, understand, interpret, create, communicate and compute, using printed and written materials associated with varying contexts. (Source: www.unesco.org).

The key to literacy is ones reading development that begins with comprehension of spoken words and the ability to decode written words.  There are several tips that Literacy Connections.com has provided to encourage parents to become active in establishing a love of reading and writing in their children.

Start to read to your children at a very young age.  You don’t need to wait until your child is old enough to be read to.  Literacy Connections recommends this habit of reading to your child start well before their first birthday.

Make reading at bedtime a habit.  This might take some time to get established but soon you will both be looking forward to this nightly habit.

Have your child help pick out the books he/she would like to have in their regular rotation.  This can be hard if they want you to read the same books over and over again – but your child will gain a lot from these repeated readings.

Make it fun.  Look at the pictures together and roar like a lion, squeak like a mouse or just be silly together looking at the illustrations.  The more a child has a positive connection to reading the more likely they will continue reading on their own for enjoyment once they learn how to read.

Make up new stories.  The art of storytelling and writing is a wonderful skill that can be developed with practice.  You can use pictures from children’s books or magazines and create a whole new story.  (Source: www.literacyconnections.com)

Programs that Support Literacy

Some programs that support literacy include First Book and Jet Blue and PBS Kids “Soar with Reading” program – both provide books to low income families and communities who might not have the money to purchase books for their children or centers.

Mrs. P, one of the most popular entertainment and educational sites for kids on the Internet, promote a love of reading and writing by hosting an annual Be-A-Famous Writer Contest that students from the ages of 4-13 years of age can enter.  Kathy Kinney of the Drew Carey Show acts as Mrs. P and offers storytelling via You Tube.

They work with teachers that make this writing contest a classroom project!  The winners in the two categories 4-8 years of age and 9-13 years of age have their book professionally illustrated and made into a hard cover book. This year they are working with some top judges including Julia Roberts, Melina Gerosa Bellows, the VP and CCO of the National Geographic Kids and Mary Frances Smith Reynolds, a teacher.

I had a chance to speak to Ms. Kinney who says that “she is convinced that children who read and exercise this skill will grow up to help solve problems and world affairs.” You can read more about the contest and what Mrs. P has to offer at www.mrsp.com.

It is so wonderful to see organizations such as Jet Blue/PBS Kids “Soar with Reading” program and Mrs. P provide books and contests that encourage these important life skills.  Literacy is a lifelong intellectual process that benefits individuals and the world around them!

Originally posted on Mom It Forward: http://momitforward.com/literacy-love-reading-and-writing

References:

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) www.unesco.org

Literacy Connections: www.literacyconnections.com

Mrs. P Be-A-Famous-Writer Contest: www.mrsp.com

Jet Blue/PBS Kids “Soar with Reading” Program: www.soarwithreading.com

FACEBOOK PARTY August 30th at 5:30 pm PST with Mrs. P!  Come join us to celebrate the love of reading and storytelling with Mrs. P!  She will be joining us on Penelope’s Facebook Page.  We will also be handing out some goodies including a gift card, signed copies of books, original artwork, and more!  See you then and tell your friends!

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