Play is quite possibly my favorite of the five Early Literacy Practices. Not only because it has the boundless freedom to surprise and delight, but also because it naturally incorporates the other 4 practices – talk, sing, read, and write. When you play, especially with a playmate, talk is a natural part of the fun. If you’re anything like me, you also often make up songs about what you’re doing. Playing games such as I spy or tic-tac-toe incorporate reading and writing. There is just so much possibility with play, and I find that endlessly exciting.
The term executive functioning refers to an important set of skills that allow people to successfully navigate life. These skills include the ability to plan, self-evaluate, self-control, retain information, manage time, and organize thoughts and information. According to a useful infographic published by Harvard, these abilities are not innate to anyone, but may be learned by nearly everyone. Children between the ages of 3 and 5 years old tend to develop these skills rather rapidly, and this development is significantly bolstered by early childhood education and care (ECEC). An exploratory report was published in May of this year, examining the effect of ECEC on children’s executive functioning skills at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to these important skills, the study also examined the effect of this care on language, and the difference socioeconomic status may make on the development of vocabulary and executive functioning. The study looked…
At our last Early and Family Literacy Committee (EFL) meeting, we started our meeting off looking over our charge: *stay on top of current research in the field of early and family literacy, and share it with the library community *develop trainings for library staff about core early literacy skills and practices *collaborate and advise ALSC committees and workgroups on early literacy issues and projects We discussed progress on our first-ever webinar (still in the planning phases – more to come 😊) and talked about new sources to follow (I’d just listened to an episode of the podcast Best of Both Worlds that featured Dr. Lakeisha Johnson at the Florida Center for Reading Research, who focuses on language and literacy development in underserved populations – I’ll definitely be tracking her work!).
In August, the LA County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a motion to eliminate late fines for overdue books and materials borrowed from LA County Library. In her announcements to staff and customers, LA County Library Director Skye Patrick shared that fines and fees for overdue materials impede access to vital library resources and services and contribute to economic hardship, especially for low-income families and youth. Other libraries have reported that fines and fees disproportionately impact their low-income communities, and going fine free has resulted in a significant increase in the return and borrowing of library materials. I am already hearing expressions of appreciation from parents visiting my library location. As one of the largest library systems in the U.S. with 85 libraries providing services to over 3.4 million residents across 3,000 square miles, the potential positive impact of the LA County Board of Supervisors’ decision is immense.
I have a loved one who was recently diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). As I was present for his PT sessions, I realized that much of what the instructor was doing, I as a librarian had done the same during read-alouds and Story Time. After the sessions it had me thinking about my practices during storytime. With that in mind I did what all librarians do which is research, specifically on Autism Spectrum Disorder and reading.
I am very fortunate. I have been able to work with the ALSC Early and Family Literacy Committee for the past two years, where bringing an equity, diversity and inclusion focus is now at the forefront of all our work. As we find current, relevant literacy research to share with the ALSC community, we are very intentional about integrating and including EDI perspectives.
The ALSC Board charged the Early and Family Literacy Committee (EFL) to “identify, synthesize, and disseminate current research findings relevant to early and family literacy issues from library schools, scholars of education, and other advocacy sources to libraries, childcare providers, and community agencies serving young children (birth through age 8).”
While I am not having quite as much difficulty concentrating as I did early on in the pandemic, delving deep into research articles has not gotten any easier. As part of my work on the Early and Family Literacy Committee, I have Google Scholar alerts for articles on the topics “early literacy” and “family literacy”. I receive a digest semi-weekly and skim through looking for articles relevant to our charge.