Wednesday, July 1, 2015

A Gourmet Meal of Early Literacy Information!

Guest post by Linda DeCramer

Words cannot convey the import and impact of the two online courses I took as part of the Growing Wisconsin Readers initiative - EarlyLiteracy and Books, and Early Literacy Enhanced Storytimes. The instructor, Saroj Ghoting is wonderful and the course content was absolutely transformative in terms of how I approach storytime planning and share early literacy information with caregivers!

A gourmet meal (Pixabay)
Prior to the courses, I was aware of the 5 practices – read, write, sing, play, talk – used to reinforce early literacy components. But, it was as if I had “snacked” on tidbits of info, and did not purposefully incorporate it within the storytime context. Post courses, it’s as if I partook of a carefully crafted, 5 course meal designed to optimally integrate knowledge of child development and early literacy research with the early literacy components AND the 5 practices.

I feel newly empowered to make a difference! I am infinitely more confident in choosing content for my programs, and sharing early literacy info with caregivers. This is truly a gift to be shared and partaken of collectively. 

Three course highlights:

1. The final goal of the combined courses is to train the presenter in offering early literacy information via “asides” during storytime. I’ve notice that adults in attendance are in turn empowered and excited about the importance of their role as EARLY LITERACY NURTURER! Many parents attending storytime have opted to focus on raising their children over money or career. By incorporating early literacy information and reinforcing best practices, storytime is now a learning, growing experience for adult, as well as child, and serves to affirm and legitimize their choice and role.

2. Conversation and camaraderie among attendees: Sometimes, an “aside” will spark a caregiver to share with the group an exciting moment or development, which illustrates the concept, with their child. A retired educator, who brings her grandsons, occasionally has additional info or knowledge, from her years as a teacher, to share. Despite days filled with very little adult conversation, tears, diapers, messes and melt downs, sharing in this way helps everyone to believe that what they are doing is important!

A Storywalk discussion (author's image)
3. Children in motion can listen very well to a story. One of the video clips viewed as part of the Early Literacy and Books course involved a caregiver reading to a child engrossed in play. It appeared the child barely noticed the reader. At intervals, the adult stopped to ask a question about the book. The seemingly unattentive child would immediately answer correctly! Often baby storytime is a bit chaotic and caregivers express concern for their active child who will just not sit for a book, here, there or anywhere. In the past I would have offered tips and ideas for maximizing the child’s time and attention to a book or storytime. While this is still a worthy goal, now I can assure them that activity and listening are not mutually exclusive!

Written by:
Linda DeCramer, Children’s Librarian