At Okeedokee this week, we’ve had a wonderful week celebrating literacy in conjunction with National Book Week and from all accounts, we have been one of very few early learning centres to participate in the 2016 Queensland Premier’s Reading Challenge.
Although literacy is always a major focus here at Okeedokee, this week, to help us celebrate National Book Week, on Wednesday, we invited our local MP, Di Farmer who enjoyed a morning tea visit that included spending time to read to our children. Thursday everyone came along for another fun filled day, dressed as their favourite story book characters.
The Premier's Reading Challenge is an annual state-wide initiative for state and non-state schools and home-educated students up to Year 9, as well as children (aged up to five years) enrolled in an early childhood centre, and individual home readers.
The Premier's Reading Challenge is not a competition but aims to improve literacy and encourage children to engage in reading for pleasure and learning.
Each year, across Australia, The CBCA (Children’s Book Council of Australia) brings children and books together celebrating Children’s Book Week. During this time Schools, Libraries, Booksellers, Authors, Illustrators and children celebrate Australian Children's Literature.
The early years are a critical time for your child as they begin to learn skills and abilities they will continue to develop throughout their lifetime.
As a parent or carer, and your child’s first teacher, you can play an active role in building the foundation your child needs to develop their literacy skills in the future.
Literacy in the early years is about reading, writing and speaking and listening. Reading in the early years can occur through a variety of sources such as books, magazines, logos, signs and grocery packaging. Children can write and talk about the ideas and information they read. They can also discuss, question and reflect on things happening around them.
Young children need to have opportunities to learn to listen and make meaning from the talk of others. Making sure your child understands what they see, hear and read is crucial for literacy learning.
Some fun everyday activities that parents/carers can use to help promote and develop early literacy concepts include:
• play word games when out together, such as playing ‘I spy’ in the car. For young children, you can use colours such as ‘I spy something that is red’
• paint and draw — art allows children to express themselves. As your child learns more words you may notice their paintings or drawings become more detailed
• sing songs or nursery rhymes while taking a walk, packing away toys or in the car
• dress up — children can practise their language and communication skills by playing ‘make believe’
• ask your child open-ended questions — this encourages them to practise expressing themselves and lets them know you value their thoughts
• think out loud — so your child can learn about how you solve problems
• read books — reading together can be a special and relaxing time. It can help your child enjoy reading from a young age and give them a head start at school.