Every child Ready to Read Newsletter - December 2018

every child ready to read

Every Child Ready to Read in Michigan - December 2017

In This Issue:

Thank you...

A big "Thank You!" to Sue McCleaf Nespeca for two years of in-person trainings, newsletters & webinars throughout Michigan.  This Library of Michigan initiative is supported by funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.


ECRR's Five Practices Tips & Books from Sue

Talk Read Play

This is the last newsletter I will be writing in this final month of the two-year Early Literacy Initiative developed by the Library of Michigan. The focus was on the Every Child Ready to Read (ECRR), a parent education initiative commissioned by the American Library Association. For this last publication, I would like to share a list of book recommendations (all in-print, and numerous ones from 2017) that are a good match for the five practices of the ECRR project. Hope this is helpful to you all! And I hope you continue to include early literacy practices in your storytime programs.

Below are some tips to implement in your library and/or share with families and caregivers on making the 5 practices of ECRR a part of every day life.  Please feel free to print and share the tips below along with the list of book selections at your storytimes, or keep a copy at the youth desk for the public. 

Compiled by: 
Sue McCleaf Nespeca, Kid Lit Plus Consulting 

Email: Kidlitplus@gmail.com

dad and girl


AGES 0 -3

·         Talk to babies throughout the day during mealtimes, diaper-changing time, bathtime and bedtime.

·         Introduce babies and toddlers to new words whenever possible. Name items in their environment, but also take them on a nature walk, to a farm, or a zoo.

·         Repeat new words so that babies/toddlers will know how to pronounce them when they begin to speak.

·         For a child to learn to read, he/she needs to have been introduced to many new words. The size of a child’s vocabulary is a strong predictor of reading success.

·         Reading books where the young child can participate by naming animals, colors, or simple objects provides wonderful opportunities for a child to use narrative skills.

·         Expand the experience by asking simple questions such as “What color is the lion?” or “How many humps does the camel have?”


AGES 3-5

·         Share books that allow children to participate in the telling. For example, have them join in repeated phrases or identify animal names etc.

·         For parents: Point to the words on signs and read the words aloud to your child when at a store or any public place. Have your child repeat the word.

·         For parents: Make up stories with your child while riding in a car or walking to a location. Try to introduce a few new words.

·         For parents: Share simple wordless books with your child, telling the story you see in the illustrations. Then have your child retell the story.


singing girl


 AGES 0-3

·         Songs help babies develop listening skills and learn new words.

·         Singing stimulates brain connections and increases attention span.

·         Babies prefer their parents’ voices to any others, and singing has a calming effect.

·         For parents: Sing songs throughout the day – they can be songs you know or that you make up while performing daily activities. 

·         For parents: Sing to your child daily. The quality of your voice/singing is unimportant.

·         For parents: Consider singing songs a little slower so your child can clearly hear the syllables that make up the words in the songs. This will improve her ability to discriminate sounds, a skill necessary to learn to read (phonological awareness) 


AGES 3-5

·         Sing favorite songs with children over and over again as it helps them learn words and build memory skills.

·         Emphasize syllables in words as you sing so that children can hear the smaller sounds in words. Songs have a different note for each syllable, which helps children break down words. (phonological awareness)

·         You can clap the syllables to help children hear the smaller sounds within words. This helps children break unfamiliar words apart when learning to read. 

mom and boy


AGES 0-3

·         Research shows that reading books to children from birth and having books present in the home are two of the greatest indicators for later success in learning to read.

·         For parents: Read to babies at different times during the day. It does not matter if you finish the book.

·         For parents: Make sure all reading experiences are positive. Keep reading even if your baby is not directly looking at the book. If your baby is crying or not enjoying the experience, stop and try again later.

·         For parents: Use board books with durable pages and that have rounded edges until a child can handle a book with paper pages.

·         For parents: Recite nursery rhymes and poems with your young child often. Literacy experts suggest that children who know eight nursery rhymes by heart by age four will be among the best readers by the time they are eight. (Mem Fox, Reading Magic, 2008)

·         Rhymes help children understand basic structures and patterns of speech.

·         Silly rhymes and poems do not need to make sense. Children enjoy the sound of the rhyming words and repetitious phrases.

·         Repeat rhymes often. Occasionally pause to let your child supply the rhyming word. 


AGES 3-5

·         Reading books is the best way to increase a young child’s vocabulary because books are filled with rare and unusual words that are not often included in speech.

·         For parents: Introduce a book you are reading to your child by discussing the cover. Point to the title of the book and read it. Ask your child “What do you think this book might be about?”

·         Pick books you like and share them enthusiastically. Read with expression and use different voices to keep children’s interest and to make books come alive!

·         For parents: Avoid teaching your child to read. You may destroy your child’s positive attitude and enjoyment of reading. You child may learn to read naturally, and that is fine, but otherwise, let you child learn how to read at school. 

girl writing


AGES 0-3

·         In order for young children to learn to write, the small muscles in their hands must be strengthened. Activities to help babies begin to strengthen their small muscles are important.

·         As soon as they are able, young toddlers can lift flaps in books and help turn pages.

·         Provide opportunities for babies and young toddlers to feel different shapes.

·         When sharing board books with young children, a parent can occasionally point to words so that young toddlers begin to understand that the scribbles on the page mean something.

·         Prepare children’s hands for writing and gaining fine motor skills by having them make numbers out of play dough.

·         Have children trace around number stencils, magnetic numbers or number templates to strengthen the muscles they will use for writing.

·         Have children do “number rubbings” by providing large number templates, paper, and large chubby crayons to do rubbings.

·         Have children trace numbers in a tray of sand or salt.


AGES 3-5

·         Provide opportunities for children to draw as drawing helps them develop the muscles they need to become writers.

·         Ask children to draw a picture about the story after sharing a picture book.

·         Do “license plate rubbings” with children. Use an old license plate and provide paper and crayons for the child to make the rubbing. Can the child identify any of the letters or numbers?

·         For parents: Label some objects in your child’s room so that he/she can see written words. 


boy with blocks


AGES 0-3

 ·         Tell parents that playing with their baby creates a special bond between them and helps the child acquire confidence, creativity and imagination.

·         When a parent plays with their child and talks about their play, they increase the child’s exposure to new vocabulary and help expose the child to new concepts.

·         For babies, the emphasis in play should be on sensory exploration, singing, and lap and bounce games.  


AGES 3-5


·         Encourage pretend play by providing props such as dress-up clothing, stuffed animals, crowns, and so on. This increases children’s narrative skills as they can make up a story while playing.

·         Provide opportunities for small motor activities such as playing with blocks, alphabet letters, or puzzles with 12 to 50 pieces for children these ages.

·         Provide play experiences such as playing in water, playing in sand, using play dough, and finger painting, that allow children to use their five senses.

·         Sing and dance with young children! Provide simple musical instruments; dance to a variety of musical styles.

A Note from Cathy Lancaster on "Ready to Read Michigan"


As 2018 rapidly approaches the Library of Michigan is happy to share that we plan to continue training, resources and more for public library staff in the 5 practices of Every Child Ready to Read.  The new initiative will be called "Ready to Read Michigan" with an outreach toolkit launching this March!  All toolkits will be shipped directly to Michigan public library directors. Watch for continued updates from me - Cathy Lancaster, Youth Services Coordinator, Library of Michigan.  I can be reached at 517-335-8129 or at LancasterC5@michigan.gov.  

Please note that the American Library Association's Every Child Ready to Read website has recently been updated.  It now features more resources, a mailing list, and you can still shop for additional pamphlets, bookmarks and more.