Welcome to our first Motivational Monday where we'll be sharing easy tools for you to increase literacy in your home! I love Mondays because they feel like a reset for the whole family. During Covid, our family has watched more TV than ever. Part of this is just the reality of life right now. But every Monday I try to set an intention to focus more on what I want in the life of my family. You know what I want? Kids who love to read.
So, let's talk about an often overlooked area of literacy: Print Climate. Students who experience the least success in classrooms at any level usually come from homes and schools with the worst print climate - the fewest books, magazines, newspapers, etc. Let's face it, it's difficult to get good at reading or even read much if there's nothing to read!
We know that words are the structure to all learning, and there really are only two ways that words get into a child's brain: either by seeing them or hearing them. That means that talking to your children, reading aloud to your children, or having books available to your children are the primary step to build all of the critical foundations for learning in every area of life.
One study showed that there may be a "million word gap" that explains the difference between vocabulary and reading development in children's preparedness for school. Bottom line, kids who are read to often and are spoken to often hear hundreds of thousands more words before they enter Kindergarten and simply have a wider background knowledge of language to develop into a lifelong reader. You can read more about the Million Word Gap Here.
So here's the quick and easy step you can take today to increase literacy in your home: Do an assessment of your print climate. Questions to ask yourself:
Are books accessible to kids in their play area?
Are books displayed prominently in my home?
Are there children's magazines, comics, and light and easy reading material available?
When was the last time I bought or borrowed a new book or magazine for my child?
Do my children see me read in my spare time?
Do I set aside quiet time for my children to read on a daily basis?
In short, just having books in your home is an excellent first step to literacy! You're probably already doing this!
Display books at eye level where kids can pick them up anytime. Make your home a High Print Climate where magazines, comic books, story books, picture books, fiction and non-fiction are readily available. Buy books for your kids for holidays and birthdays. You can go to the library, swap books with friends, pick books up at second hand stores. It doesn't have to be expensive, but make it your goal own lots of books!
This is one of the many reasons why we're passionate about supporting High Print Climates in teacher's classrooms throughout our school district. Studies show that the more books that are available to kids, the more they will read! Book accessibility a pretty simple step toward literacy that should be available to all kids.
This weeks challenge: purchase or borrow a new book for yourself or one of your readers this week and post it in the comments below so that we can celebrate with you! You are creating a high print environment in your home!