Reading Tips for Parents and Caregivers with Babies and Young Children

Did you know that reading to your child is one of the single most important things you can do for their educational future? Read on to learn tips for reading to your child from birth until kindergarten.

 

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library has lots of experience with reading, and we encourage good reading habits for parents, caregivers, and their children. When your child receives their Imagination Library books, we ask you to do the following:

  • Begin reading to your child immediately
  • Read to your child at least five days per week
  • Read books multiple times
  • Snuggle, ask questions, notice letters, make sounds, have fun!

Birth to 2 Years Old

  • Begin reading to your child immediately. It may seem silly to read to very young children, but it will help you bond with your child and establish an important foundation for future learning. The earlier you start, the better the results!
  • Read to your child every day. Children who are avid readers were read to every day from a very young age. Make reading a regular event in your home.
  • Read books multiple times. Reading the same book over (and over) reinforces language development and encourages children to participate in the reading activity.

Reading = snuggling!

  • Read for short periods with your child on your lap or next to you. Being close to you is likely as important as the reading.

Keep books handy!

  • Set up a space to keep your child’s books where they will be accessible.

Be flexible!

  • Take a break if your child is unhappy or fussy. Read multiple times per day for short periods rather than one longer period if that works better.

2 to 3 Years Old

  • Begin reading to your child immediately. It’s never too early to start reading to your child. Reading to very young children helps develops early literacy skills.
  • Read to your child every day. Children who are avid readers were read to every day from a very young age. Make reading a regular event in your home.
  • Read books multiple times. Reading the same book over (and over) builds vocabulary and encourages children to participate in the reading activity.

Ask questions!

  • Ask your child simple questions about the book
    Examples: What was your favorite part of the book? Where did Corduroy go when he explored the store?

Notice letters!

  • Point out letters in the text. Example: Let’s find the m’s on this page

Flip it!

  • Have your child open the cover and turn the pages of the book while you read.

Name it!

  • Ask your child to name items in the pictures before reading the text.

Chime in!

  • Encourage your child to “read” with you on familiar books and repetitive text.

3 to 5 Years Old

  • Continue reading to your child as he/she ages. Children continue to benefit from being read to in the pre-school years, building essential early literacy skills as they grow into readers.
  • Read to your child every day. Children who have high interest in reading are read to every day, often by multiple people.Make reading a regular event that everyone participates in.
  • Read books multiple times. Reading the same book over (and over) encourages children to participate in the reading activity through contributing to the reading and asking questions.

Think about it!

  • Ask your child questions about the characters or the story that require predicting, imagining, or making inferences.
    Examples: How do you think Madeline feels right now? If you were Peter Rabbit, what would you do?

Make it relevant!

  • Relate books to your child’s life.
    Example: Can you think of a time you were reluctant to try something new like Little Burro?

Begin with sounds!

  • Point out beginning sounds.
    Example: Did you hear a word that started with the same MMMMM sound as your name?

Name it!

  • Practice letter names.
    Example: Name the letters you recognize on the cover of the book.

Read it!

  • Encourage your child to read common words.
    Example: This word, t-h-e, is the. Help me read “the” when you see it in the book

Encourage curiosity!

  • Respond to your child’s questions about letters, numbers, and reading.

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How to help your student show improvement on their post-test

 
Update 5/31: Check here throughout post-testing season to see how many Literacy Council students have improved scores by a full level! If you have not received your students’ post test yet, please contact your Program Director, Erin or Rebecca.

What you can do to help your student do their best on the annual post-test:

  • Teach your student for two hours every week, asking for substitutes when you’re away, and turn your attendance records in on time! The attendance records are crucial for us in determining when your student is due for a post-test. Hours also count towards the Literacy Council’s student outcomes, helping us retain critical funding.

  • Attend a post-test prep in-service workshop for tutors, to learn more about the test itself and the practice materials. Upcoming workshops: March 7 from 5:30-7:00pm and March 15 from 1:00-2:30pm. RSVP to esol@litcouncil.com

  • Beginning in the spring, incorporate test preparation into your lessons. Use the practice tests provided by the test manufacturers and others. This will help your student feel more comfortable and confident when you do administer their post-test, and it will provide you with information about the specific areas where your student needs to practice further. You’ll need to know which test (CASAS or TABE) your student will be taking, and which level. Check the Student Evaluation Report you received when you started with your student to see which pre-test they took, or contact your Program Director (Rebecca or Erin) to confirm. Three different types of CASAS practice tests are available here. TABE practice tests will be posted there soon; until then you can get them here. We’ll distribute these in the post-test workshops as well.

  • Watch your email and USPS for testing information and packets. Administer the test and get it back to us by the deadline indicated.

  • Let us know if you have any questions at all about this!

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A Holiday Gift from J.B. Adams, Jr and Associates, Inc.

Thank you to J.B. Adams, Jr and Associates, Inc. for making an incredible contribution to the Literacy Council’s Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library as a holiday gift on behalf of their clients. Their donation will help give children in our community the head start they deserve and truly change their lives forever:

As part of this thoughtful gift, some J.B. Adams, Jr and Associates clients recalled their favorite children’s (or otherwise) books to share with us:

  • Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell
  • Thunder Cake by Patricia Polacco
  • Cry the Beloved Country by Alan Paton
  • Wapiti Wilderness by Margaret and Olaus Murie
  • Old Black Witch by Wende Devlin, Harry Devlin
  • The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  • The Snow Goose by Paul Gallico
  • Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
  • The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
  • Hardy Boys series by Franklin W. Dixon
  • My Antonia by Willa Cather
  • Nancy Drew series by Carolyn Keene
  • Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
  • The Walking Drum by Louis L’Amour
  • The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
  • Oh, the Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss
  • Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
  • Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
  • Rosie and the Rustlers by Roy Gerrard
  • The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
  • Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatty

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Tutor a child, change a life.

An unmet need and a substantial waiting list

The Literacy Council of Buncombe County’s biggest current need is additional volunteer tutors for the Augustine Project. This program serves low-income children who read, write, and/or spell below grade level.  The current waiting list has more than 50 children seeking tutoring. Tutoring is one-on-one and every new tutor we train will be matched with a student from our waiting list who desperately needs literacy tutoring to catch up with their classmates.

New training model makes it easier to become an Augustine tutor

We have made the training commitment easier, working with current and potential volunteers to restructure the timing, content, and delivery of the volunteer training. 

Augustine Project volunteer tutor training will take place Jan. 14-18, 9am-4pm. After training, tutors will spend two hours per week with their student. New tutors can typically be matched with students at schools of their choice.

Contact Rebecca to sign up today! rebecca@litcouncil.com or 828-254-3442 x202

Create the impact of a lifetime

“The Augustine Project and Mary Fraser (my son’s tutor) have been an answer to our prayers…  This program has helped Graham’s reading  immensely, and his self esteem has also improved. Our family is truly blessed by this program and by the help that Mary has provided.” 

Barbara, an Augustine Project student’s mother

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Reaching Children Who Need Books the Most

A program designed for all children

The Literacy Council of Buncombe County currently has the capacity to enroll 1,905 children in Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library thanks to funding from Buncombe Partnership for Children and the NC state legislature. This book gifting program mails a free, age-appropriate book to enrolled children every month from birth until they turn five years old. The program is designed to be open to all children under the age of five in a service area. 

Partners are key to enrolling
hard-to-reach children

At the Literacy Council of Buncombe County, we know that more literate and middle-to-high income families tend to hear about the program more frequently through social media and the internet; have access to computers, printers, and postage stamps to submit the enrollment form; and have the literacy skills needed to fill out the enrollment form.

In order to ensure that we are also reaching children who live in households without these resources, we have developed partnerships with organizations that can assist families in high-needs, low-income, and/or low-literate homes in filling out the enrollment paperwork. By doing so, we are working to ensure that children from homes with few books can start receiving free books in the mail each month.

A new partnership reaches recently-homed families

Local nonprofit Homeward Bound has two programs that offer housing to individuals and families currently living in shelters, their cars, or on the streets. To welcome formerly homeless people into their new homes, Rezaz is donating a “first meal,” and the Literacy Council is enrolling any children under the age of five in Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library.  Together, these partners are providing housing, food, and children’s books to families as they enter the safety and comfort of permanent housing.

Other referral partners

Nonprofits that meet a variety of needs in Buncombe County are enrolling their clients in Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. These organizations include:

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