By Nancy Sheng, Youth Services Librarian
In the 21st century, coding is a new type of literacy; a language that allows those fluent in it to explore, create and affect change in our increasingly high-tech world.
Like any language, the earlier you learn it, the more it sticks. New coding programs are being introduced to 4-5 year old's about to enter Kindergarten. Now, you may be saying - Wait a minute! There’s young and then there’s too young. Those kids aren’t even ready to read yet, how can they learn to code?
Early literacy sets the foundations of reading and writing before children are ready to independently read and write. Studies show that learning basic programming concepts such as commands, patterns, sequences, even in preschool, improves young children’s skills in traditional sequencing tests. For example, children who are taught coding concepts were able to describe the process of brushing their teeth using 20 steps when before they could only think of three or four steps. “Sequencing…” says Marina Umaschi Bers, a professor of child and human development at Tufts, “has a measurable positive effect on reading comprehension.”
Teaching coding concepts is also a great way to introduce important skills of problem-solving, collaboration and creativity. Watch this TED talk by Linda Liukas, founder of the Hello Ruby initiative, on why it’s so wonderful to see kids learn to code.
Curious about this new educational trend? EPL will offer an early literacy coding program called Read, Code, Play! this fall. This 4-week program is designed to introduce important coding concepts to 4-5 year old's just before they enter Kindergarten. Rather than teaching a specific coding language – text, visual, or otherwise -- we aim to introduce crucial concepts. There is no actual screen time in the program (though we will provide families recommended apps and sites if they would like them).
Bring your little one and come and give Read, Code, Play! a try. Best of all, it’s free!