Early childhood and librariesIf you do a little searching, you’ll find all kinds of resources on the Web that will help you pass along worthwhile information to parents, caregivers, and teachers who work with kids aged five and under. Here’s one: a story from the Knoxville, TN, News Sentinel published this past September called The ABCs of early literacy. The most useful parts of the article are the sidebars on the lower left titled “Tips for reading to children” and “What children like in books,” with solid information from Amy Nachtrab of the Imagination Library program of the Knox County Public Library. But the whole article is worth pointing out to adults who care for young children.

Here’s a brief piece worth reading that’s two years old, but still current. “Teaching Your Child How to Track Helps Early Literacy” at the LiteracyNews.com site. The basic point is astoundingly simple – if you follow the words with your finger as you read aloud to your child without even saying that “these are the words you’re hearing,” many children grasp it quickly anyway, and I’ve heard from several parents through the years that their child learned how to read by following Mom’s, or Dad’s, or the babysitter’s finger, and then going back to read the story again with the words they’ve memorized. The LiteracyNews site is definitely worth a look, too.

And here’s a PDF document from the National Institute of Early Education Research that’s worth a look: “Early Literacy: Policy and Practice in the Preschool Years.” It’s from 2006, but that doesn’t mean that it’s no longer relevant. It’s intended for early childhood educators rather than librarians, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t relevant to us, either. It stresses that there are lots of children out there in various preschool programs that come from different cultures and speak languages other than English at home, and that we need to be working hard to help those families and low-income families in general. In the public-library world, that means we need to be getting out of our libraries and building bonds with families who often aren’t comfortable in the library.

I hope there’s something here you can use.