[kids-lib] Article and information about language and literacy development

Katie Anderson katie.anderson at state.or.us
Fri Jun 24 09:26:28 PDT 2016

I just read an excellent article by Abbie Lieberman on the New America blog that I thought many of you might be interested in. You can read the full article What Does "Transforming the Workforce" Say About Developing Young Children's Language and Literacy Skills<https://www.newamerica.org/education-policy/edcentral/languageliteracy-part1/> online. Below are my takeaways that apply to public library early literacy programs, especially storytime that include activities.

The problem as stated in the article:

*         Many pre-K programs and elementary schools do not engage children in the high-quality interactions they need to develop their language and literacy skills. According to Transforming the Workforce, early grade teachers do not focus enough on vocabulary, reading comprehension, or conceptual and content knowledge.

*         the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) finds that only 59 percent of programs preparing pre-K teachers require candidates to take courses on developing children's language skills.

*         while it's known that read alouds are highly important for building children's language and literacy, only 20 percent expect prospective pre-K teachers to practice reading aloud to children.

The solution as stated in the article is essentially a public library's storytime with intentional post-storytime activities and a language and literacy rich children's area:

*         Creating an environment that supports young children's language and literacy skills is crucial to children's success

*         By reading aloud to her students, the teacher is modeling fluent reading, introducing them to new concepts, and building their vocabulary.

*         She asks her students questions related to the story and encourages them to think beyond what is happening in the book, which can build their ability to represent ideas out of context and discuss past, future, and fictional events.

*         Most of the children in this class are not likely to be reading words on their own yet, but that doesn't mean they aren't strengthening their reading skills.

*         Conversation builds children's vocabulary and background knowledge and teaches them how words work together to form phrases and sentences. Children understand more words by listening and speaking, which eventually translates to reading.

A few things that may be helpful to know:

*         The Child Care Division at the Oregon Department of Education has a cross-sector professional development committee (I'm on it!), that is reading the book this article is drawing on, "Transforming the Workforce for Children Birth Through Age 8: A Unifying Foundation<http://www.nationalacademies.org/hmd/Reports/2015/Birth-To-Eight.aspx%22>", together and discussing it chapter by chapter in our meetings-wouldn't if be nice if all our meetings could be more like book clubs!

*         It is likely that the information in this book will become how the early childhood and education people talk about early learning. Oregon's standards for educating early childhood professionals, the Core Body Knowledge<https://www.pdx.edu/occd/sites/www.pdx.edu.occd/files/Core%20Body%20of%20Knowledge%20-%20English.pdf>, are aligned with the information in the book-we checked!

*         Talking about your storytime and other early learning programs and resources with stakeholders using the language under the "solution" section above and other language in this book make help you get their attention, it may increase the perceived value of your early literacy programs and services in the eyes of early childhood and education stakeholders in particular.

*         This book is already beginning to impact how we in the library community talk about early literacy . For example, the term "background knowledge" is now being used by librarians instead of "narrative skills" when we talk about early literacy skills. Don't worry, that doesn't make Every Child Ready to Read 1st Ed. obsolete or incorrect! Background knowledge is a broader term that includes narrative skills, but it also includes culture, race, life/real world experiences, and everything else that makes up the story a child has to tell about themselves and uses as a lens to understand other stories and the world around them. This will be discussed more after summer reading-this just the soft-launch of the discussion.


Katie Anderson, Youth Services Consultant
Library Support and Development Services<http://www.oregon.gov/osl/LD/pages/index.aspx>
Oregon State Library, 250 Winter St. NE, Salem, OR 97301
katie.anderson at state.or.us<mailto:katie.anderson at state.or.us>, 503-378-2528
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