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The Early Literacy Resource Center for Southern Arizona

Parents Are Children’s First and Most Important Teachers

As a parent, you are the first and best teacher your child will ever have. One of the most important ways to build a foundation for lifelong learning is to read to your child, beginning at birth. MWFB provides resources to help families read aloud effectively to children and foster critical early literacy skills. In this section, families will find information on what early literacy is, why reading aloud is important, what young children like in books, and ways to share books with infants, toddlers and preschoolers.

What happens in a child’s life between birth and age 5 lays the foundation for learning and for success in school and in life. (Ninety percent of a baby’s brain growth occurs before the age of 5.) Children start on their path to being readers the day they are born. They begin to learn about language from hearing family members speak, laugh, and sing. Children begin to understand written language as adults read aloud to them and they see family members reading books and newspapers for themselves.

 

What Is Early Literacy

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Literacy and Play

Early literacy is all of the skills children develop that help prepare them to one day be able to speak, read, and write. It is not teaching children how to read; it is getting them ready for kindergarten, where they will begin to learn to read. Talking and reading to children are the best ways to encourage this development from a very young age.

Early Literacy in a Nutshell
 

Blue Book Houses

Holding Hand

Blue Book Houses are bookshelves, shaped like houses, with gently-used books in waiting areas of social service agencies and health-care centers throughout Pima County. Families are encouraged to read aloud to their children while they wait, then take home a book to keep.

 

          

MWFB for Babies

Babies

MAKE WAY FOR BOOKS also provides Early Literacy Kits (Baby Bags) for new parents through in-home support personnel at local social service agencies.
 
 

MWFB Raising A Reader

Storytown

MWFB is the Tucson affiliate of the national Raising A Reader (RAR) program. RAR is an easy to implement parent education and book bag rotation system. It is a proven program that creates a fun and easy way to start families on the path to literacy. Families come together for a series of weekly 1.5 hour sessions led by Make Way for Books Family Literacy Specialists. Parents bring their children (ages 0-6) to engage in meaningful language and literacy activities and increase their knowledge and skills on how to help their young children develop early literacy. Parents learn how to share books and that literacy opportunities are everywhere and easy to integrate into their daily routines. At the end of each meeting, families check out a different bag of books to take home and share together during the week. At the next session, families discuss their favorite books and share how they incorporated literacy into their week. Families reflect together, learn from each other, and realize that they truly have the tools to help their children succeed.
 
 
Featured Family

Ely Cielto received an Early Literacy Kit when her daughter Olivia was born a year ago. The two have read together every day since. Now Olivia is turning the pages of books and speaking her first words.

 

 
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Enjoying Books with Your Children

 

Literacy and Play

Children who have books in their lives and adults who read to them regularly are more likely to be successful in school and in life. Here are a few ways you can encourage your child’s love of reading and books.

 

  • Set aside a special time to read to your child every day. She will anticipate storytime and associate the positive parent-child bond with reading.

  • Read with an enthusiastic voice. Use different voices for the different characters.

  • Children like to be part of the story. If the story is repetitive, encourage children to join in with repetitive phrases.

  • Ask children what they think will happen next or what one of the characters should do. This is good practice for language and thinking skills.

  • Ask children to explain what they see in the pictures. For infants point to the picture and name the objects. Eventually your infant will be able to point to the object when prompted. Preschoolers love to experience the story through the pictures. Ask your preschoolers to explain what they see in the pictures.

 
 

Teaching Reading-Readiness Skills

 

Literacy and Play

The Arizona Department of Education has identified six areas of reading-readiness skills children need to master before starting kindergarten: print awareness, book handling, phonological awareness, letter knowledge, vocabulary development, and comprehension. Fostering the development of key pre-reading skills is critical to kindergarten readiness. MWFB provides information to help families gain a better understanding of these skills as well as activities to help parents prepare their children to learn to read.

Arizona Early LIteracy Standards Reading-Readiness Activities
 
 

Book M-A-G-I-C (Making a Giant Impact on Children)

 

Literacy and Play

The Arizona Department of Education has identified six areas of reading-readiness skills children need to master before starting kindergarten: print awareness, book handling, phonological awareness, letter knowledge, vocabulary development, and comprehension. Fostering the development of key pre-reading skills is critical to kindergarten readiness. MWFB provides information to help families gain a better understanding of these skills as well as activities to help parents prepare their children to learn to read.

Learn More About M-A-G-I-C M-A-G-I-C Sheets
 

 

Donations Appreciated

MAKE WAY FOR BOOKS early literacy resources are free. However, developing and producing the materials is not without expense. Because MWFB relies on donations to provide these materials, we ask that you consider making a contribution today. Any amount will help MWFB continue to develop early literacy resources for families and educators.

MAKE WAY FOR BOOKS is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. As such, all gifts are tax-deductible, as allowed by law.

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Contact MAKE WAY FOR BOOKS
MAKE WAY FOR BOOKS
3955 E. Fort Lowell Rd., Suite 114
Tucson, AZ 85712

Phone: (520) 721-2334
Email: info@makewayforbooks.org


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