Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Print Motivation

"When the interaction around a book is negative (harsh language), the young child likes reading and books less. He associates the negative interaction with the book!"
-Adam Payne, Grover Whitehurst, and Andrea Angell. The Role of Home Literacy Environment in the Development of Language Ability in Preschool Children for Low Income Families. Early Childhood Research Quarterly v. 9 issue 3-4 1994.

I thought I'd break down the Six Early Literacy Skills starting off with the foundation Print Motivation or "Love Books".

Print Motivation is a child's interest in and enjoyment of books. A child with good print motivation enjoys being read to, plays with books, pretends to write, asks to be read to, and likes trips to the library. Children who are motivated by print are excited about learning to read. They will be more likely to persist and succeed when they encounter difficulties or stumbling blocks while learning to read.

Print Motivation in Storytime:
  • Make storytime FUN! Let the children know that you think books are special and that the time you spend with them in storytime is special. Use funny books and get everyone laughing. Let the children know that you love to read and that one day they will know how to read books all by themselves.
  • Make storytime interactive. Involve the children as much as possible. Children learn the most from books when they are actively involved. Use participation books or books that have a repeated refrain or chant they can chime in on.
  • With babies: Include a book-sharing time by surrounding the babies with board books. Let them handle the books and don't worry if they chew on them! This is a baby's way of exploring and learning about books. Make a fuss over the books. Show the adults how to share books with babies: Point to the pictures and talk about them. Relate them to the child's world ("That bear has a red shirt, just like yours!")
  • Take book requests sometimes.
  • Put out books for the early birds to read while they are waiting for storytime.
  • Don't be afraid to stop reading a book that isn't working!
  • Give children access to writing materials, if possible.
  • Create positive memories by reading special books at certain times of the year (at the change of the season, after a snow storm, when the first flower emerges).
  • Follow the lead or the interests of the children.
  • Read with great expression, but be careful not to overdo it.
Print Motivation Comments for Adults at Storytime:

It is important to relay early literacy information to parents and caregivers. Providing a literacy tip to parents and caregivers is an essential part of a literacy-enhanced storytime. Here are a few comments you can try: (It might seem awkward at first, but you'll pick up a flow.)
  • "Researchers say that children learn more from books when they are actively involved, so be sure to ask questions while reading."
  • "Let your child see you reading and know that reading is fun. Find interesting child-friendly articles in the newspaper and read parts of a story aloud."
  • "It's important to let your child see that reading is functional. You can share maps, recipes, newspaper articles, or other useful bits of information with your child."
  • "The desire to read is an important factor in children becoming skilled readers, so be sure to follow your child's interests."
  • "Every positive experience with books builds the literacy foundation that will help your child achieve in school. So, make reading a fun and special time by reading funny books, cuddly, books, whatever your child likes."


What Can We Do for Print Motivation?
  • Enjoy the materials and the group: smile and laugh generously
  • Pop-ups, toy books, books of all sizes that are fun for kids to see and touch
  • Encourage parents to enjoy books and enjoy them with their kids
  • Storytime Signs: for example, using a stop sign when it is time to stop talking and pay attention to something else

What Can Parents and Caregivers Do for Print Motivation?
  • Make sharing stories a big deal; a pleasant, part of every day
  • Read with voice inflection and excitement
  • Let the child be a part of choosing books to read

Suggested Books:

  • Bark, George by Jules Feiffer
  • Butterfly, Butterfly by Petr Hor├ícek
  • Go Away, Big Green Monster! by Ed Emberley
  • Where's Spot? by Eric Hill
  • Duck on a Bike by David Shannon
  • Bear Wants More by Karma Wilson
  • Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell
  • Monkey and Me by Emily Gravett

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