Family Literacy and Tumblebooks
By Amy Shropshire, Reference Department
Parents tend to want the best advantages for their children, and early literacy is one excellent advantage. That’s the idea, but getting a squirming toddler to sit still long enough to read a picture book demonstrates the difficulties involved. Even the best behaved children tend to struggle at some point with early literacy skills. Learning new skills is always difficult. The library is here to help.
According to the U.S. Department of Education, literacy is intergenerational. Parental involvement and expectations are directly linked to a student’s success in school. Family literacy programs often focus on building literacy skills in both parents and children. Parents that read regularly are more likely to have children with an interest in reading, since children like to emulate what their parents do. However, before a child can begin picking up a book, they need to gain pre-literacy skills, and be exposed to concepts that help develop literary skills.
We tend to think of reading as a singular activity, but in reality it’s a skill developed from assorted other skills as a child grows. Focusing on the little squiggly symbols we call letters is a step just as much as understanding how language works is. Learning to verbalize and consider abstract concepts through imaginative play and frequent communication are important building blocks to figuring out that squiggly symbols represent words. The more a child interacts and plays and expands their overall mental abilities, the quicker they will likely learn to read especially if play is already associated with words.
More than that, associating play with words is more likely to make a child enjoy reading (and want to learn more). Play is serious business for children. It may seem contradictory to learn using resources that don’t seem precisely educational, but the more fun the activity is the more information a child will absorb. Educators use a variety of resources to help children learn through play. One such resource is Tumblebooks. The library subscribes to this resource so that parents can log in and give their children access to a wide variety of books and games to aid in literacy development.
Many of the books on Tumblebooks play videos, sing songs, or animate highlighted words to allow children to follow along with the story on the screen. It may seem counter intuitive, but a child’s attention is often better with learning how to read by watching a video rather than simply reading a story, which develops early pre-literacy skills. The resources grow with the child using quizzes, book reports, and games for more developed readers, and even lesson plans for teachers and parents alike. There are also playlists of various lengths and subject areas to keep a child intrigued and entertained in a way that’s educational.
Tumblebooks is excellent for helping the youngest child gain early literacy skills before learning how to read. The library has multiple similar resources for various ages and literacy levels available in our collection databases. To access these resources, simply go to http://wcpltn.org/ Tumblebooks can be found in “Children’s Electronic Resources” which is located in the Children’s Department section under the “Main Library” tab on the website. If you can’t find it, just ask a librarian at (615) 794-3105. Tumblebooks does require a username and password to sign in. If you have any questions, call the library and we will gladly help you.
Library-based family literacy projects R 027.6 MON
Early literacy storytimes @ your library: partnering with caregivers for success 027.6251 GHO
Growing a reader from birth: your child’s path from language to literacy 372.4 MACG
Art across the alphabet: over 100 art experiences that enrich early literacy 372.5 CAM
The garden classroom: hands-on activities in math, science, literacy, and art 635.083 JAM