Beyond ABCs: What to Look for in a Strong Early Literacy Program

All parents want what's best for their children, especially when it comes to their learning. Early literacy is really important and picking the right library or community program can help your child get ready for reading and school.  With so many choices out there, it might feel confusing. But don't worry, we're here to help you understand what to look for. In this blog post, we'll talk about the important elements of a strong early literacy program that can greatly benefit your child.

Build a Strong Early Literacy Program

Comprehensive Approach: A strong early literacy program should provide an overall approach to learning, addressing various aspects of literacy development. Look for programs that intentionally aim to develop reading, writing, speaking, singing and listening skills.  

Developmentally Appropriate Practices: Early literacy programs should align with your child's age and stage of development. Look for programs that offer activities and materials suitable for your child's current abilities. For example, a program for babies might focus on singing, rhyming and parent/child interactions, while a program for preschoolers may emphasize pre-reading strategies and understanding more words.

Having Fun While Learning: An effective program should combine learning with fun. Identify programs that incorporate activities where your child can engage in movement and play. A strong program captivates young children and encourages their active participation. The enjoyment that comes from these activities motivates your child to engage in early literacy practices, which increases their skill development.

Language-Rich Environment: Listening is an important part of learning to read. When considering programs for preschool children, prioritize those that involve lots of conversation and reading aloud. This helps your child learn new words and understand how sentences sound. Additionally, a program that encourages talking and telling stories is important.

Collaboration with Families: A strong early literacy program should actively involve families as partners in their child's literacy journey. Look for programs that engage parents as active participants. The insights gained from such programs can provide a large number of resources for practicing early literacy skills at home.

Skilled Leaders: The educators and facilitators in the program should be knowledgeable, experienced and passionate about early literacy. Look for programs that employ professionals who understand child development and have expertise in early literacy instruction. Their enthusiasm and expertise will play a crucial role in creating a positive learning environment for your child.

Research-Based Practices:  Look for programs that use ideas that come from literacy research what we know about reading and how children learn.

Feedback: A strong program should include regular opportunities for you to ask questions about your child’s progress, raise concerns and provide feedback. Look for programs that can connect you to other community resources or provide recommendations for targeted interventions if you have concerns about your child’s development and learning.

Enthusiasm and Love for Reading: The most important thing is that a great learning program helps your child enjoy reading. Choose programs that make reading fun. They should show your child many different types of books and stories, so reading seems like a happy thing. When your child likes reading, they will do well in school and want to learn.