EARLY CHILDHOOD LITERACY
By Margaret Adams
Before our current pandemic crisis, there were efforts to focus on preparing children for literacy before starting kindergarten. Helping your child build literacy skills can begin soon after their birth. The earlier children are exposed to reading, the more prepared they will be for their educational journey. According to sites like https://www.readingrockets.org/, https://www.educationcorner.com/ or http://getreadytoread.org/, infants and toddlers begin to learn literacy skills through the language spoken to them by family members and caregivers. Written language begins when they are read to and can see printed language in the books being read to them. Our children must get these early literacy skills at home before starting kindergarten.
We have in our community our own award-winning Cleveland Public Library offering families programs so that our little ones are not left behind. Beginning September 21, the library plans to meet our youngest residents’ needs head-on. They are offering a “Young Scholars Program (formerly known as The Kindergarten Club) that will focus on three to five-year-olds. According to Rhonda Pai, Early Childhood Coordinator, the Young Scholars program will “provide support for the parents and the parents’ goals for their children.” The program is open to input from parents and caregivers who participate. In these times of coronavirus, online participation is encouraged. Parents can register for the program at cpl.org or they may go into any branch and ask for assistance registering for the Young Scholars Program. [The library has additional hours to try to accommodate families. The hours are: Mondays 10am-10:30am or 6:30pm-7pm, Tuesdays 6pm-6:30pm, Wednesdays 11am-11:30am or 4:30pm-5pm and Thursdays 4:30pm-5pm.] There must be an adult with the child during these sessions and the adult is not limited to family members only.
The Young Scholars Program will focus on building reading readiness skills with the children and their caregiver through interactive activities focusing on recognizing the letters of the alphabet, rhyming words, and reading comprehension; it will also include counting and numbers’ recognition. Participants are given books and supplies that they may keep. The staff is available to support parents whenever and however they can.
Parents and caregivers let’s not let the Coronavirus pandemic interfere with the important task of preparing our little ones for school. If you cannot participate in the Young Scholars Program, every branch offers a free Kindergarten kit for parents of children ages two-five years. These kits must be returned to the branch after use.
We have a good resource within our community, The Cleveland Public Library. Let’s take advantage of their programs so that our little children are not left behind.