Halloween is upon us- and we’re taking a few moments out of all of the fun we’re having at the PCL to share a few pointers on implementing early literacy techniques into your already established routine.
Talking: Halloween is a great opportunity to introduce some new topics to your children in conversation. Use their costumes as an icebreaker: ask the child to imagine that they are the character they are dressed up as. Ask open ended questions: “What to you think (Spiderman, a pumpkin, a princess) would do in this situation?”, “How will your day as (Spiderman, a pumpkin, a princess) be different than a normal day?”, “What do you think (Spiderman, a pumpkin, a princess) would eat for lunch? Why?” These questions may seem silly (and they are- which makes them fun), but any conversation you have with your child will help your child learn to express their thoughts in words, learn the meaning of words, and gain new information about the world.
Singing: Singing helps your child hear distinct sounds that are used to make up words. Again, songs add to a child’s vocabulary and helps to introduce new ideas and concepts. Halloween can be a great chance to share fun spooky songs from your own childhood with your children. Songs I remember sharing with my own parents on Halloween, year after year, include “Monster Mash” by Bobby “Boris” Pickett & the Crypt-Kickers, “Ghostbusters” by Ray Parker, Jr., and, for older children, “Thriller” by Michael Jackson.
Reading: Your child isn’t into spooky stories? Don’t worry- look for costumes of book characters throughout the day, and share the books of those characters that evening. Shared reading (reading books aloud with your child) is the single best way to help children develop early literacy skills.
Writing: Reading and writing go hand in hand. This Halloween, ask your child to write their own entry for your family scrapbook detailing their costume and celebrations. Ask younger children to “write” their Halloween story, as well. Don’t tell your young children that they can’t write- even scribbles are important to the process! The child learning that putting pencil to paper helps people communicate their thoughts is just as important as the information they are “writing”. Can’t read their scribbles? Ask them to then TELL you their story (circling back around to the importance of talking to your child).
Play: Children learn new vocabulary, how to express themselves, and other early literacy skills while playing. Halloween is a perfect way to incorporate a little extra play into your family’s day. Ask your costumed children to act out a simple scene in character. Encourage your child to pretend to be their character for the entire day! Play does not have to include expensive toys or electronics- a child’s imagination is all that is needed to reap the literacy benefits of play!
Talking, singing, reading, writing, and playing are the five most important actions you can take in your home to help make it easier for your child to be ready to learn to read once they begin school. Halloween may not be your thing- and that’s OK! But early literacy education is important to your child’s future school success and these five actions are adaptable to any routine. If you are interesting in learning more about early literacy or would like to request a free customized early literacy workshop for your group or organization, please call the Putnam County Children’s Library at 931-528-3636 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Happy Halloween from the PCL!
*Early literacy information available through Every Child Ready to Read, which is a project of the Association for Library Service to Children and the Public Library Association, divisions of the Americal Library Association. More information on this initiative can be found atwww.everychildreadytoread.org .