Kutztown Youth Librarian offers early literacy tips; literacy skills develop before children can read

Lisa Nuss, Youth Services Librarian at Kutztown Community Library, offered a few early literacy tips, sharing six early literacy skills for toddlers.

The firs is print motivation, being interested in and enjoying books.

“Just have fun with books,” said Nuss about building young children’s love for reading. “Allow them to have books that are at their level that they can pick up anytime they want so you’re encouraging their interest.”

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If reading to your toddler who doesn’t want to sit and listen, but instead play, she said they is okay.

“You don’t want to force it because then they won’t enjoy it,” said Nuss to a group of Moms, Grandparents and caregivers of toddlers recently at a library Play & Learn Workshop.

Another skill is print awareness, which includes noticing print everywhere and how to handle a book.

“When you’re at the grocery store you can point out labels,” she said. “When holding a book, let your child turn the page.”

Other early literacy skills include letter knowledge by knowing that letters are different from each other, vocabulary which includes knowing the names of things, and phonological awareness which includes hearing and playing with smaller sounds of words and recognizing words are made up of a number of different sounds.

“Sing the ABC song,” she suggested. “Read and write their name... The more you talk to your child the bigger their vocabulary will be. Research shows that the more words a child knows going into reading the easier it is for them to learn to read.”

The final skill is narrative skill which includes describing things and events, telling stories, knowing the order of events and making predictions.

Nuss suggested asking open ended questions that encourage conversations, rather than yes or no answers. Talk about your day and its series of events.

“Use picture books, that’s a really great way to build narrative skills,” said Nuss. “You can make up the story. Your child can help make up the story.”

Nuss hopes parents pick ups some tips or reminders of what they can do to help their toddlers gain early literacy skills.

About the Author

Lisa Mitchell

Lisa Mitchell is the editor of The Kutztown Patriot and Managing Editor of Berks-Mont Newspapers. Reach the author at lmitchell@berksmontnews.com or follow Lisa on Twitter: @kutztownpatriot.