When researching early literacy skills, I found many websites with information for teachers, librarians, and parents to know when helping children. Most of the pertinent information I found was buried in long paragraphs, citing this doctor and that study, aimed for an audience of educators. So, as a preschool teacher that served children from all backgrounds, I know that some parents research and apply early literacy techniques to prepare their children, while other parents have never heard of the benefits.
I found this information extremely important for parents to know, but found it was not as accessible for some. I searched around for handouts for parents to take home, and while some were adequate, most were under designed, wordy, or tiresome.
So, what is a person like me with an art degree to do? I decided to gather the best techniques and tips to create colorful, easy to read handouts specifically made for new, young parents. The information was collected from various websites, pamphlets, and personal experiences. My favorite tip comes from when I was a child: My father would tell me to close my eyes while he played classical music, think of whimsical stories, and recite back to him what I saw. This was to help develop my creative thinking and storytelling skills. Check out pdfs of the handouts here:
Heartbeat of Toledo, Ohio was the first place to distribute the handouts, specifically to disadvantaged parents. Parents were very receptive to how the content was presented and told the Executive Director, Pat Todak, of the impact it has made in their daily routine of interacting with their child.
The next program to use the handouts was Reach Out And Read at the University of Toledo Pediatric Center. At every appointment, nurses give a child an age appropriate book to take home. This could be the first book that child receives. However, if the parent does not know the importance of reading together and is unaware of the benefits of early literacy, this book would never leave the shelf. Therefore, I believed that these handouts would accompany the newly gifted books perfectly.
Perhaps your library can be the next place that can utilize these handouts to help parents realize how easy it is to prepare their child to become a reader and the effect it has on them for the rest of their lives.
Our guest blogger today is Angela Bronson. Angela has a Bachelor in Fine Arts from Lourdes University in Sylvania, Ohio. This is her ninth year working for the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library, and is currently a Children’s Librarian at Kent Branch Library. In the past, she was a Preschool Art Teacher for Bowling Green State University. She illustrated her first picture book this year titled, “Alora in the Clouds.”
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