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Early Literacy in Infants and Toddlers. Idaho Association for the Education of Young Children Regional Conference Coeur d’Alene, Idaho October 19, 2013. Your Presenter. Staci Shaw. Other Read to Me Coordinators: Stephanie Bailey-White Erica Compton VISTA: Julie Armstrong. Who we are….

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early literacy in infants and toddlers

Early Literacy in Infants and Toddlers

Idaho Association for the Education of Young Children Regional Conference

Coeur d’Alene, Idaho

October 19, 2013

your presenter
Your Presenter

Staci Shaw

Other Read to Me Coordinators:

Stephanie Bailey-White

Erica Compton

VISTA: Julie Armstrong

who we are
Who we are…

The Idaho Commission for Libraries assists libraries to build the capacity to better serve their clientele.

Our vision is for all parents and caregivers to nurture their children’s early literacy skills, and for all children to develop as independent readers and become lifelong learners.



Be aware of current research relating to early literacy, vocabulary development, and access to print materials

Be able to incorporate six early literacy skills children must develop in order to become successful readers into curriculum

Be able to share talking points with parents about the importance of early literacy

Learn about free resources available from ICfL and local libraries to help support development of early literacy skills


As a result of the presentation today, I hope you will:

  • What is early literacy?
  • Development of Six Early Literacy Skills in Infants and Toddlers
  • Resources
  • @ your library
  • Q and A
early literacy
“Early Literacy”

What children know about reading and writingbeforethey learn to read and write.

in idaho

IRI scores in 2012 show that approximately 19% of children entering Kindergarten did not recognize three or more letters of the alphabet. Another 25% recognized fewer than 11 letters.

IRI scores in 2012 show that 27% of low-income children entering kindergarten (those receiving free or reduced lunch rates) did not recognize three or more letters. Another 27% recognized fewer than 11 letters.

In Idaho

“Proficient” on the kindergarten Idaho Reading Indicator (IRI) is knowing 11 or more letters.

in idaho1

Family poverty is significantly associated with lower reading achievement scores for children, and Idaho has a high percentage of families living in poverty.

In Idaho

In 2011, over 55% of infants born in Idaho received Women Infant Children (WIC) services.

(Idaho Division of Public Health, Bureau of Vital Records and Health Statistics)

some key findings

The development of early literacy skills in a child’s life can better prepare that child for success in reading when he or she enters school.

Children who do not have early literacy experiences before they begin school start behind and tend to stay behind (the Matthew Effect).

Children who are not reading on grade level by the end of first grade have a 1 in 8chance of catching up without costly direct intervention.

Some key findings…

Reading scores have important implications for later achievement. Basic readers are more than twice as likely as proficient readers to fail to graduate from high school. Below basic readers are almost six times as likely to fail to graduate.


Only 33% of Idaho’s fourth graders scored proficient or higher on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP); 36% scored at the basic level and 31% below basic.


Why is it important for children to get ready to read beforethey start school?

Children who start kindergarten with good pre-reading skills have an advantage.

They are ready to learn to read.


What do children need to learn to become good readers?

To become successful readers,

children need to:

  • Learn a code
  • Understand its meaning

Aa Bb Cc DdEe Ff GgHh Ii JjKkLl Mm

< / * # > + \ ** [ = ) ] ~

NnOo Pp QqRr Ss TtUu Vv Ww Xx YyZz

: ]] { ++ } // ^ ! [[ (( >> \\ |

[ *<: }><#.

Reading is learning the code.


What do children need to know before they can

learn to read?

What is decoding?

  • Noticing print
  • Knowing letter names and sounds
  • Hearing the sounds that make up words

Reading is more than decoding words. Good readers understand the meaning of what they read.

Meg is hipple when she roffs with her mom.

Reading is understanding the meaning.


What do children need to know before they can learn to read?

What is comprehension?

  • Knowing what words mean (vocabulary)
  • Understanding the meaning of printed language

Help children be ready to read with simpleactivities every day.

Five simple practices help children get ready to read:

early learning eguidelines
Early Learning eGuidelines
  • Provides detailed guidelines and strategies for early childhood development
  • Is for parents, child caregivers, child care

educators, etc.

  • Is an electronic resource, allowing for individualized searches
  • http://healthandwelfare.idaho.gov/Portals/0/Children/IELeGuidelines/Idaho_Early_Learning_eGuidelines.htm
  • Domain 5: Communication, Language, and Literacy
a foundation for reading

A foundation for reading…

The Six Early Literacy Skills

print motivation
Print Motivation

Keeping reading FUN and sharing books is important. If the experience is not a positive one, children will relate reading to something negative, which will make them less likely to choose to read.

The joy of, and interest in, reading books

print motivation1

Model fun of reading and of playing with language-- enjoy book and interaction yourself

Begin reading books early—even when baby is a newborn.

Make sure you and child are in a good mood.

Have a comfortable area to share reading time.

Stop reading when child becomes tired or loses interest.

Read aloud every day

Print Motivation
suggested books

Cloth or “indestructible” books

Board books with bright, simple illustrations

Board books with photographs of other babies

Books with contrast

Let child choose books for you to share

Note: Not all “board books” are for babies/toddlers

Suggested books
print awareness
Print Awareness

Knowing that print has meaning, knowing how to handle a book, and recognizing print in the environment

Being familiar with printed language helps children feel comfortable with books and understand that print is useful.

print awareness1

Use board books or cloth books and let child hold book and turn pages

If there are only a few words on the page, point to each word as you say it

Run finger under title and/or repeated phrases

Talk about environmental print (road signs, menus, food labels)

Point out different kinds of print within books


Print Awareness
suggested books1

Any book!

If there are only a few words on each page, point to each as you read it.

Books with repetitive text

Books with writing as part of the pictures

Books with different kinds of typeface

Suggested books
narrative skills
Narrative Skills

Retelling stories, retelling events, and adding descriptions

The ability to describe things and events, and the ability to tell stories, helps children better understand what they read.

narrative skills1

As you talk with your children, give them time to “talk” back to you

Have props available so your children can retell stories with puppets, a flannel board, props, or creative dramatics.

Encourage your children to talk and expand their descriptions of things.

When baby coos or babbles, talk back to them.


Narrative Skills
suggested books2

Board books with photos or illustrations of everyday things

Board books with animals

Books with a repeated phrase or repetition in the plot

Books that tell a cumulative tale

Suggested books

The more words young children know before they enter school, the better.

Children who have never encountered a word will have a hard time reading it in a book later on.

Knowing the names of things, understanding the meaning of words

vocabulary development

Children should learn about 3,000 or more new words a year, according to Honig

Vocabulary is richer and broader in picture books vs. watching TV

Children need to be exposed to a word at least 12 times before they can start to use it in their vocabulary

Vocabulary development

Take time before or during the reading of a book to explain an unfamiliar word (don’t replace the word)

Talk about feelings

Add descriptive words

Speak “parentese,” as in a slightly higher pitch, speaking more slowly and in short sentences

After reading a book, go back to an interesting picture and talk about it, adding less familiar words

Show real items when possible; for babies and toddlers, point to and name objects

suggested books3

Any book! Just read, talk about, and name objects in the book.

Non-fiction books

Picture books that illustrate concepts- big/little, up/down, etc.

Suggested books
early learning guideline3

Goal 51: Use responses that demonstrate an increased knowledge of specific concepts and to use phrases and sentences with functional and descriptive vocabulary.

Early Learning Guideline
letter knowledge
Letter Knowledge

Knowing letters are different from each other, that the same letter can look different, and that each letter has a name and relates to specific sounds.

letter knowledge1

Help babies/toddlers see and feel different shapes

Point out letters on toys, food boxes and other objects

Play matching games (alike and different)

Encourage scribbling

Have letters available to “play” with: magnetic, foam, flannel

Sing the alphabet song, including different versions

Letter Knowledge
suggested books4

Board books with shapes, colors

Shapes/colors books

Alike and different books

Alphabet/number books

Suggested books
phonological awareness
Phonological Awareness

Ability to hear and play with the smaller sounds in words

Includes rhyming, breaking words apart and putting word chunks together, and hearing beginning sounds.

phonological awareness1

Sing songs and repeat them

Say nursery rhymes so that child hears words that rhyme-- emphasize rhyming words

Add actions as you sing a song or recite a poem--This helps child break down language into separate words

Change initial sound in familiar songs, or a repeated phrase in a story

Make up your own silly, nonsense rhymes

Say rhymes and sing songs in language most comfortable for you Video: Songs & Language.wmv

Sing throughout the day

Phonological Awareness
suggested books5

Books with rhyme

Books with alliteration

Books with sounds of animals and other things

Songs in book format

Books of Mother Goose rhymes

Poetry books

Any book!

Suggested books
early learning guideline5

Goal 56: Purposefully engage in activities that promote phonological awareness and to manipulate phonemes to make new words and to rhyme.

Early Learning Guideline
icfl read to me resources

Support materials

ELL @your library

Early Literacy Centers

Parent/caregiver activity sheets (also in Spanish)


ICfL/Read to Me Resources
new resources


TumbleBooks™ through library website

Read to Me on Facebook

The Bookworm monthly newsletter subscription

New Resources:

Scan with your Smartphone or tablet to go directly to page

the bookworm
The Bookworm

Subscribe: http://libraries.idaho.gov/bookworm

have you visited your library lately


Play areas (dramatic, blocks)


Music CDs and audiobooks, DVDs



E-Books (e-audio, e-pub)

Other programs: Music and Movement, Bilingual, School-Age, Parents, Child Care, STEM

Have you visited your library lately?
access to print materials
Access to Print Materials

The most successful way to improve the reading achievement of low-income children is to increase their access to print.

access to print materials1

increases in the amount of reading children do

increases in children’s emergent literacy skills

improvements in children’s reading achievement

Access to Print Materials

There is a causal role between increased access to materials and-

Access to Print Materials Improves Children’s Reading

~study commissioned by Reading Is Fundamental (RIF), 2010

partnering with library
Partnering with Library:
  • Provides access to books for families who may have barriers to getting to the library.
  • Library provides a bin of books-- 15 bags with 3 books in each bag.
  • Parents check out a bag to take home.
  • Each bag also contains a Bookworm literacy handout, a contents page with a literacy handout, and a quick survey.
  • Library can apply now
partnering with library1
Partnering with Library:
  • September through May: Library visits once per month for storytime
  • Children receive one book each month to take home and keep (total 9 books)
  • Parents receive Bookworm each month
  • Age groups: Birth – 2; preschool; kindergarten
  • Library hosts one early literacy parent workshop or family event
  • Libraries apply February-April
partnering with library2
Partnering with Library:
  • Library hosts 3-hour workshop on Early Literacy Skills
  • If facilitated by ICfL “Approved Trainer” attendees can receive 3 IdahoSTARS credits—free!
  • Each classroom receives free Literacy Kit: 20 paperback books, music CD, large letter magnets, and a professional resource
  • Targeted to preschool-age, but can customize
  • Libraries apply anytime
i used to think
I used to think…

But now I know…

support materials
Support Materials
  • See packet of support materials
additional early literacy support
Additional Early Literacy Support

Saroj Ghoting, Early Literacy Consultant: www.earlylit.net/

Hennepin County Library: www.hclib.org/BirthTo6/EarlyLit.cfm

Washington Learning Systems: www.walearning.com/

Ohio Ready to Read: www.ohreadytoread.org/

Center for Early Literacy Learning (CELL): www.earlyliteracylearning.org/

Zero to Three – School Readiness Interactive Tool

Washington County Cooperative Library Services (WCCLS) www.wccls.org/kids

Colorado Libraries for Early Literacy (CLEL) Storyblocks: www.storyblocks.org/

Materials, handouts, research, and professional development that is available…


Thank you for joining metoday. Please let usknow howwe can support your efforts to strengthen literacy in your child care setting.

Staci Shaw:


Stephanie Bailey-White:


Erica Compton:


Julie Armstrong:


Idaho Commission for Libraries

325 W. State St., Boise, 83702

334-2150 or toll free 1-800-458-3271








Individual studies and citations can be provided upon request