Last week, we talked about using activity centers for story time. As highlighted in the original post, one of the major benefits that came from using activity centers at story time instead of crafts was increased conversation between parents and children.
When you work with children regularly, it’s easy to forget that working with their children on early literacy skills may not come naturally to all parents. In fact, they may not even realize how important it is just to talk to their child.
So what are some ways you can help parents interact with their children?
- Include parents during story time to encourage interaction.
- One library in Ohio offers mini programs on how to read a book with a child. This is simply demonstrating to parents what types of questions they can ask before, while, and after reading a book with their child.
- Remind parents to model reading behavior. Even people without kids know that kids watch and mimic everything. Encourage parents to make sure kids see them reading at home. Perhaps offering an adult summer reading program would be a good start?
- If you are using activity centers at story time, provide cards for each center with conversation prompts. These can be as simple as suggestions to count, sort, and name shapes and colors, or providing the lyrics to appropriate songs or rhymes.
- Send parents home with activity ideas. The CSLP summer reading manual is thick, and it’s easy to overlook that there is an entire section devoted to early literacy. It has sheets you can reproduce and send home with parents.
- Reading Rockets has reading tip sheets for parents. Though standard data rates apply, parents can also sign up to receive text messages with literacy ideas and activities they can do at home.
- Introduce the six early literacy skills and ways parents can encourage their development at home.
For more in-depth coverage of this topic, check out two new additions to the State Library collection:
- Reading with Babies, Toddlers & Twos by Susan Straub and KJ Dell’Antonia, with Rachel Payne
- Every Child Ready for School: Helping Adults Inspire Young Children to Learn by Dorothy Stoltz, Elaine M. Czarnecki, and Connie Wilson
How do include parents during story time? How do you help prepare parents to improve their child’s early literacy skills at home? Share your ideas in the comments!