To be able to develop early literacy among young children, it is important to have a literate home environment. Research has shown that instructional environment have a phenomenal effect on developing early literacy skills among young children. These types of instructional environment are usually found within the confines of classrooms.
However, research has proved that the same learning environment in the classroom can be replicated right at home with great effect. Some researchers have stated that development of literate home environment should be given as much prominence as that of the classroom.
“Developing a home environment to encourage literacy is not simply about buying writing materials and stock piling books” said Sarah of Day Care Boise. For the home environment to be truly effective there needs to be adequate planning of how these materials will be put to use. Experts agree that the first important step is to designate a specific reading area in your home. This action ensures that the children understand the importance placed on literacy in the family household. It will also show the young children that the entire family unit values reading.
A literate family home does not imply that everything has to be done in English. In fact, reading and writing in ones native tongue is just as powerful at developing literacy skills as using English. Regardless of the language being used, the message will (and should) remain the same I.E. Literacy is an important aspect of the family’s core values.
Before work on setting up the home library can begin, there are factors that parents must pay attention to namely:
1. The location of the home reading area.
2. The reading and writing material to be stocked.
3. The most effective methods of using the collected material.
Place To Set Up.
In theory, any space inside your home can be converted into a reading area. The most ideal space will be the one with great lighting and the one most comfortable. Interior cushions, comfortable chairs, pillows, etc, should be utilized to make the room comfortable. The selected reading area should have enough space to accommodate your family and individual reading positions (lying on the floor, stretched on the couch, etc).
Reading Books and Writing Materials.
A home library should be littered with books. Young minds need a variety of books to keep them engrossed. Parents should stock up on “touch- to- teach” books like Pat the Bunny by Dorothy Kunhardt. There should be books that match the needs of babies. In addition, there should be an abundance of storybooks to suit the likes of toddlers and preschoolers.
Parents can get wordless books, which require the children and adults reading them to fill in the words. This can help build on your child’s creativity and language skills. Fiction and non fiction books for all ages should be found inside the family reading room.
Building a permanent library is more feasible since your entire family can come back to re-read their favorite stories. New collections from libraries and bookstores should be included to offer readers a wide selection of books.
Remember that this is a general family reading area and as such, there should be books that appeal to all ages. Magazines, encyclopedia, comic books, etc can all be included in your library. Everyone should be able to find something that appeals to him or her.