Reading brings children to worlds of imagination and adventure. Daily literacy time allows children to naturally develop the motivation and skills necessary for reading and writing. This time can include daily reading, browsing through books on their own, listening to stories on YouTube Kids, retelling favorite stories, or acting out their own adventures. Each activity helps children strengthen skills in all areas of development. In a quality childcare environment, the classroom library is a key part of the program.
Social and Emotional Development
The first key area of development, social-emotional, is the building block for everything else. Children learn to respect and appreciate peers and teachers who are both similar and different from them. Through social stories, children learn how to solve problems, show empathy, build friendships, share, and use their imagination.
The library targets all areas of language (reading, writing, listening, and communication). Advanced language, phonological awareness, and comprehension grow when children enjoy a good story. Learning to turn the pages front to back and reading from top to bottom both set the stage for later reading success. Emergent writing skills develop when children scribble a message to a friend or begin to tell their very own stories.
Cognitive development occurs when children acquire a deeper understanding of the world around them. One example is learning to make cause and effect predictions. Children do this when listening to stories such as the Three Little Pigs, wherein the wolf huffs and puffs and blows down the straw house, but not the brick house. Connections also form between fiction and what they already know. Children comprehend the sequence of events when they retell stories. Books also allow children to learn about counting, number recognition, colors, sizes, shapes, upper- and lowercase letters, and sound/letter recognition.
Fine Motor Skills Development
The fourth key area of development is fine motor skills and physical coordination. As children write and draw, they strengthen their hand muscles. Just learning how to hold a crayon helps them create their own next masterpiece.
Reading and Writing
Research proves that families have a crucial role in helping their children learn to read and write. The single most important thing families can do is to read to their children every day. Make it a bedtime ritual to snuggle up with a great story. The time spent is invaluable!
Here are some suggestions to help make family reading time an entertaining activity:
- Talk about the story and the characters throughout the reading time.
- Ask your child, “Why do you think they did that?” “What would you do?” or “What do you think will happen next?”
- Encourage children to repeat the advanced words, rhymes, and phrases as they learn them.
- Get a library card with your child’s name and visit often.
On the next beautiful afternoon, curl up with your child on a soft blanket under a favorite tree and read “It Looked Like Spilt Milk.” Encourage your child to use their imagination and talk about the shapes they see in the clouds. The sky is the limit for imagination and creativity—so read, read, read with your child!