This year in my “Twos Are Terrific” storytime for two-year-olds, I am concentrating on one letter per week, going through the alphabet. The first week we talked about a-a-a-apples and a-a-a-ants and a-a-a-airplanes. This last week we talked about b-b-b-babies and b-b-b-bears and b-b-b-boats. During each storytime I read stories, we all sing songs and we exercise our large and small muscles in various ways. What do I expect your two-year-old to learn?
- Most of all, I want children to learn to associate books with fun. Two-year-olds are very honest, and I know when I’m losing their interest or attention; so I keep the books short and dramatic.
- I expect the children to become comfortable with a predictable storytime structure. As they come back each week, and start hearing some of the same songs and activities, they will gain confidence and start participating more.
- Children need to acquire six pre-reading skills before they can become successful readers. As I concentrate on one sound or letter each week, I expect the children to learn that words are made up of a string of different sounds. This is one of the six pre-reading skills. They will also be picking the other core skills as well, but this is what I’m concentrating on this year.
Do I expect two-year-olds to actually learn their alphabet? No, not really; although a very few may pick it up if they’re getting more at home.
What do I expect the parents to do?
- I expect parents to continue to read to their children all week. Parents can observe and learn from how I read the stories. Not only do I read very expressively, which gives two-year-olds additional clues as to the meaning, but I also involve them in some way in the story by helping to make sounds or asking them questions.
- I expect parents to talk to and play with their children all week. I have a handout available each week of everything I do. That way parents can easily repeat the songs and fingerplays all week, as often as the child wants and the parent can stand.
I don’t expect or want parents to feel stressed about “teaching their child to read”. I do expect that I am giving parents skills, ideas and resources to take home and use with their children very day. I also expect that reading will eventually come because the children will have learned the pre-reading skills through these activities.
Ready Readers: The Six Core Skills
1. Story Awareness (Narrative Awareness)
2. Using Books (Print Awareness)
3. Understanding Sounds (Phonological Awareness)
4. Understanding Letters (Letter Knowledge)
5. Understanding Words (Vocabulary)
6. Loving Books (Print Motivation)