Issue 1. Growing Like a Read: Words


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Growing Like a Read
Quarterly eNewsletter from the Pioneer Library System - focusing on early literacy skills

September 1, 2010

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Words, Words, Words

by Jenny Stenis, MLIS

Have you read Big Rig Bugs by Cyrus Kurt, T Is for Terrible by Peter McCarty or My Father Knows the Names of Things by Jane Yolen?  What do these books have in common?  They introduce new words or vocabulary to children.  Big Rig Bugs is full of rhyming language while introducing different types of bugs and vehicles.  T Is for Terrible introduces uncommon words we associate with food.  My Father Knows the Names of Things shares the joy of a child who learns the names of the things around him/her as they travel through the day together.

Why is learning vocabulary an important pre-reading skill?  According to the National Reading Council, vocabulary acquisition is one of the six pre-reading skills important for success in developing a lifelong reader.  Children learn vocabulary when parents and caregivers talk to them, as well as, when they read aloud to them.  Some children enter kindergarten exposed to lots of books and language experiences, while others begin school with a very limited knowledge of vocabulary.  Research shows that children who fall behind in vocabulary acquisition are of significant risk for experiencing reading difficulties.  While not as important in early development of reading skills, the number of words students have in their vocabulary by kindergarten predicts their reading comprehension in middle school.

Vocabulary acquisition happens in tiers or stages.  Tier one consists of common vocabulary words that children hear every day such as blue, mom, dad, cat, or dog.  Second tier words are more uncommon.  They usually are more sophisticated terms associated with books and reading.  These are content-rich words needed to form and understand concepts such as frigid for cold, trilling for singing and slithering for crawling. Tier three words are words limited to specific subject areas such as medicine and law.  How do children learn these uncommon words?  Reading to your child is the key to hearing these content-rich words.  Children’s picture books provide 30% of these rich words that children hear compared to the 17% they hear every day.

Jim Trelease says:  “Children have to hear a word before they can speak it; they have to speak a word before they can read it; they have to read a word before they can write it.”

Check out some of Jim Trelease's books.

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Child Guidance Programs Provide Information & Screenings

by Mary Ann Boersma, MS, CCPS

There are many excellent services available for families in the Pioneer Library System area.  Three County Health Departments’ Child Guidance Programs are available to all families in or within driving distance of the Norman, Moore, and Shawnee libraries.  The Child Guidance Clinic Programs include child development, speech/language and behavioral health services. 

One of the favorite services offered to families with children ages birth to 6 years is the Child Development service which is facilitated by the Child Development Specialist.  Parents are encouraged to call and schedule an appointment to talk about child development and to have a developmental screening completed with their child.  The developmental screens include activities that check how a child is doing in a variety of early skills, including fine motor, gross motor, speech and language, and personal social skills.  The developmental screens are completed with the parents present and helping.

Following the screening, the results are given to the parents in a short form to keep, and can be shared by the parent to the child’s doctor, child care giver, or preschool teacher to report the child’s developmental progress.  The Child Development Specialist will assist parents with fun and stimulating ideas for preparing children for the next phase in development.  Information will be provided to help prepare a child for preschool, and public, private or home school programs.  Their child’s behavior is discussed to assist parents with any questions or concerns they may have. 

A sliding scale fee may apply for the cost of a screening.  Medicaid insurance payment is accepted.  No one is refused this service due to inability to pay a fee.  Call the number below for an appointment with the Child Development Specialist located closest to your home:

Moore Office: Call Kim Moler at 405-794-1591
Norman Office: Call Mary Ann Boersma at 405-579-2254 *McClain County residents call Norman
Shawnee Office: Call Chris Jarko at 405-273-2157 ext. 127

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Early Years Can Make a Difference.

Information from Prevent Child Abuse America, Selected and compiled by Candace McCaffey, Ph.D

Recent research shows that most brain development takes place in the first three years of life.  Think about that, the first three years!  Children need many types of stimulation for their brains to develop fully.
What You Can Do for Mental Development:

  • Challenge your infant or toddler to think.  Provide age appropriate toys.  Teach them to count, match colors, recite the alphabet, learn nursery rhymes and work puzzles.  Most importantly, read to your children—even infants—and show them pictures as you read to them.
  • Create a stimulating environment that includes bright colors, various textures, and interesting sounds and smells.
  • Talk to your baby and toddler often, using complete sentences.  Children are eager to learn and understand.  Tell them about their environment—situations, people, and places.  Don’t worry about how much you think they understand.

What You Can Do for Emotional Development:

  • Show how much you care by providing a lot of love, concern, and care for your child.
  • Monitor your own stress and mental health.  Find help if you feel overwhelmed.  Your state of mind will affect your child’s development.
  • Shield children from stressful and violent environments.  Listen and respond if/when they tell you they are worried, scared or confused.
  • Cuddle, hug, kiss and hold your toddler.  Children need a lot of affection many times a day.

What You Can Do for Physical Health:

  • Make sure your child has the opportunity to run, stretch, skip and jump.
  • Feed your children healthful foods such as fruit, vegetables, milk, cheese, fish, chicken, whole-grain bread and cereals.

Infant and toddler massage is easy to do, and great for soothing and strengthening the sensory system.

Click here for books on infant and toddler massage.

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