While many children head back to school and focus on the three R’s of reading, writing and arithmetic, preschool children can focus on the letters of ECRR, which stand for Every Child Ready to Read. This joint effort between the Public Library Association and the Association for Library Service to Children identifies the five early literacy practices of reading, writing, singing, playing and talking. As parents, when we engage in those practices, we are actually getting our children ready to read! Today’s post focuses on writing and singing.
Writing looks different at different ages. When children are very young, squeezing clay or running their fingers through a sand table helps strengthen and develop the fine motor skills later needed to hold a pen. Doing fingerplays together is also a great way to encourage dexterity. Scribbling is another early form of writing. There are many great titles where children can see themselves as authors, but one of my recent favorites is The Things I Can Do by Jeff Mack.
This delightful book features childlike handwriting and is a list of all the things the boy can do. Try making this book together at home. Simply staple a few pages together into a book, and either take dictation from your child about what he/she can do or have them write and illustrate it! Don’t forget to include an “About the Author” page!
Singing is an early literacy practice which is brimming with skills that will help your child learn to read. From words that rhyme to assigning each syllable its own note (breaking words apart is what children do when they have to sound out an unfamiliar word) to amazing vocabulary (“stout” teapot, “merrily” we row our boat, etc.), just sing! We have a great collection of picture books that are based on songs, and many have the musical notation included. One of my favorite newer picture books about singing is Laura Numeroff’s Nighty-Night, Cooper.
This touching tale of a young kangaroo that can’t fall asleep until his mother sings him a variety of lullabies will ring true for many of us parents. Mama Kangaroo creates new lyrics for familiar tunes, which may just inspire some creativity in your own family.
Stop by the Library to check out these titles and many others that celebrate the joys of singing and writing. Take them home and have fun creating stories and making music together!