Raising a Reader: The Kindergarten and Home Connection in Early Literacy

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This evening I am talking to parents at Red Hill Kindergarten about the important role they play in creating a sense of wonder around reading. Enquiries regarding education and/or parent talks can be made to childrensbooksdaily@gmail.com.

In high quality kindergarten programs, educators design their program planning around the interests, experiences and prior knowledge of the children and use these foundations to build children’s knowledge base. The Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) is the national early childhood education guide, outlining the key ideas for working with children in the birth to 5 age group. In Queensland, kindergarten programming is also informed by the Queensland Kindergarten Learning Guidelines and C&K’s Building Waterfalls curriculum.

Development of literacy skills within a quality early education centre contributes greatly to the future literacy outcomes of young people. However, literacy education does not begin in educational centres; it begins at birth and continues throughout childhood and beyond, in homes and communities which embrace a reading culture.

My aim with my blog, and with speaking engagements, has always been to empower parents and carers to take an active role in encouraging early literacy. I do this by taking parents and carers on a journey through the various stages of a child’s reading development and by providing practical strategies that support each of these stages. I’m less concerned about the mechanics of reading and more about nurturing a lifelong love of reading and language, and the vital role family and carers play in this.

Babies will start to show interest in books earlier than you may think. They will reach for and explore board books and bath books as soon as they can reach for a toy. As they move into their toddler years, they will chew books, rip them and turn them over and over as they use all of their senses to discover the mechanics of how a book works. From birth and beyond, when a child explores a book with a loved adult, they are hearing the rhythm of language, expression and emotion, and building a rich and diverse network of words. Vocabulary building starts at home, and books are one of the best ways I know to experience new words and concepts and begin to understand how meaning is made and ideas are communicated through language and print. Familiarity with books, words and illustrations provides important building blocks that lay the foundation for raising a reader.

Books for Babies

Add these titles to your shopping cart in one click HERE.

‘Whoever You Are’ by Mem Fox. Illustrated by Elise Saub.

‘Dreamers’ by Ezekiel Kwaymullina. Illustrated by Sally Morgan.

‘For All Creatures’ by Glenda Millard. Illustrated by Rebecca Cool.

‘Puffling’ by Margaret Wild. Illustrated by Julie Vivas.

‘A Boat of Stars’ edited by Natalie Jane Prior.

‘Kissed by the Moon’ by Alison Lester.

‘Goodnight Me’ by Andrew Daddo. Illustrated by Emma Quay.

‘Birthday Baby’ by Davina Bell and Jane Godwin. Illustrated by Freya Blackwood.

‘Baby Beats’ by Karen Blair.

‘Yoga Babies’ by Fearne Cotton.

The kindergarten system is often a parent’s first experience of educational environments for their child, but this does not mean that their work is done and ‘learning to read’ is handed over to an educator, no matter how fabulous that educator may be!

Reading aloud with your child continues for so many years and can have a deep and lasting impact on their mastery of language and their attitude towards reading. Even as an adult, there is something very special about being read to! I don’t’ think we ever really lose this love of the story reading and listening experience.

Reading aloud models fluent and sustained reading, develops an understanding of the importance of tone and expression, improves listening skills and fosters a desire to be a reader. It develops skills and understandings around book conventions and demonstrates the relationship between the printed word, meaning making and information sharing.

When children are regularly read aloud to, they are exposed to language conventions and vocabulary which is rich and diverse. Quality picture books use language which is not a part of everyday speech and thus they stretch and extend young minds; this is how children become expert language users. Three to five year olds can listen to and comprehend a higher level of language than what they can read, which sparks an interest in learning to read independently and to understand how books work. Kindergarten age children need exquisite books filled with rich language and beautiful images worthy of hanging on art gallery walls. Positive, affirming experiences with books come before school readers and sight words.

Read Alouds for Kindergarten Children (3-5 years)

Add these titles to your shopping cart in one click HERE. 

‘The Last Peach’ by Gus Gordon

‘My Dog Bigsy’ by Alison Lester

‘Cheeky Monkey’ by Andrew Daddo and Emma Quay

‘It’s Bedtime, William’ by Deborah Niland

‘The Game of Finger Worms’ by Herve Tullet

‘I’m a Hungry Dinosaur’ by Ann James

‘I Do Not Like Books Anymore’ by Daisy Hirst

‘Rock Pool Secrets’ by Narelle Oliver

‘Do Not Lick this Book’ by Idan Ben-Barak and Julian Frost

‘The Cleo Stories’ by Libby Gleeson and Freya Blackwood

‘Wait!’ by Beck Stanton and Matt Stanton. (and others in the ‘Books That Drive Kids Crazy series)

Parent education talks also cover how to read aloud, what to read aloud, how to extend the book reading experience, accessing books and stories in all forms and creating a print rich home environment.

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The titles of each book takes you to the Australian based online bookstore Booktopia. You can also compare prices on Fishpond and Bookworld for Australian purchases.If you live in the US or would prefer to use Amazon click here. If you live in the UK or would prefer to use Book Depository click here. Purchases clicked through from the Children’s Books Daily site result in a small commission. Commission is used in part to maintain Children’s Books Daily and to support community groups which connect children with books.

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