early literacy,  reading,  the week of the young child

Why is Early literacy important?

Happy Week of the young Child! Each year I make sure to spend one day celebrating Early Literacy, because it is so important to children’s academic success. You hear it all the time – Early Literacy is important, we need to read to young children, children should be exposed to the written word. We all know what we are supposed to do, but more importantly, do we understand why?
We all want our students, and our own children to succeed academically, but what does this have to do with reading to them when they are babies? A lot actually.  

1. From a social perspective, taking the time to read to infants and toddlers gives them one on one time with familiar adults. These are opportunities to build social emotional bonds. Young children crave attention and this time spent reading together is a great way to give them them quiet time with you.  

2. Young children also learn by watching adults. They model what you do in order to explore their own understanding. When you read a book to a child, he or she may then pretend to read to a friend or stuffed animal. The child is recreating what they experienced with you.

3. Young children like to do what adults do. When children see you reading, they want to read too. This is why it's important for your students and children to see you reading for your own enjoyment. If you, a person that they look up to and want to please, enjoys reading then it must be fun. 

4. Reading fosters creativity. Young children are naturally imaginative. Reading can encourage them to build their own thoughts and ideas because the stories are often quite ridiculous. If their favorite characters are creative problem solves, children are more likely to think critically when faced with a problem, and solve the problem creatively.

5. Books help us say things that are hard to say. Everyone is faced with different life events, there are often times when we may not know how to comfort a child, or how to get through to a child who is going through a difficult situation. Luckily, there are millions of books that we can chose from to help up make sure that child hears exactly what we want them to know.

Those are all social reasons for reading to very young children, but there is also a never-ending list of reasons to read with little ones simply because reading supports language development. 

6. When we read to young children we have the opportunity to use words that we might not otherwise say throughout the day. This give children the opportunity to hear these words used in context. When children hear new words being used in a way that helps give them meaning, they remember these words and incorporate them into their own vocabulary.

7. Even from a very young age children understand that when adults read a word off of a page, that word has meaning. This helps children begin to understand language and phonics because they can see that letters make up words, and words tell you something. 

8. We want children to enjoy reading because they are going to have to do it a lot. We are surrounded by the written word, think about how many times a day you have to read something - anything. We don't just read books, we read street signs, labels and packages, newspaper articles, recipes, websites, instructions, advertisements, even television news headlines. Reading is something that we do all day long, so we don't want children to struggle with it from the start.

All of my posts this week will deal with a different facet of Early Childhood Education. These posts are great for sharing with families and with staff, so be sure to check back every day for new information! Take a minute to check out these related posts:
Quotes for celebrating parents
Promoting Physical Activity and Healthy Eating

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