Literacy consists of a range of ways to understand and decode symbols for communication in a community (Barratt-Pugh & Rohl, 2000, p. 25). Emergent literacy is a term used to describe how young children interact with books, reading and writing (What is Emergent Literacy, 2006, p.1). Emerging literacy is an ongoing process and to ensure this process is successful children need to be stimulated through active engagement with books and writing opportunities.
Children start to learn about and experience reading and writing in infancy, particularly when they start familiarising themselves with print media. From an early age children are able to read and recognise signs such as fast food logos, ect. (Alleyne, n.d. p.2) In addition, when young children are engaged in reading books and writing opportunities their ability to learn literacy is enhanced.
Teale and sulzby (1989) pointed out that almost all children who come from literate families begin to develop skills in reading and writing from an early age through active engagement (Alleyne, n.d. p.2).
Reading Aloud to Children
Children’s stories never get old, they can be re told over and over. The more a child hears a story the greater they come to understand its meaning and purpose. Reading books to children is a means of demonstrating how to read and gives students a model to follow when they read independently. (Barratt-Pugh & Rohl, 2000, p. 124-125).
Parents play a large role in encouraging children to read and enabling them to become confident readers. Parents are aware of what motivates their child and can choose books that will stimulate their child’s interest. Research shows that by parents reading aloud to their children is essential in order for them to become successful readers. (Read, Read, Read, 2006, p.1) From this also comes the skill of listening and also improves a child patience, which is beneficial for when starting school.
There are many benefits in reading aloud to children not only an enhancement of literary skills but also increase in the ability to communicate with teachers and parents. Children also develop memory skills, imagination and creativity (Family Literacy, 2002).
There is such an emphasis on the importance of reading aloud to children that a Brisbane based non-profit organisation called The Pyjama Foundation sends out volunteers to go and read to children in foster care on a weekly basis (The Pyjama Foundation, 2008). The Pyjama Foundation enforces that reading to children everyday develops their knowledge of the world around them, stimulates their interest in learning, improves observation skills and encourages positive social interaction (The Pyjama Foundation, 2008).
Research has consistently shown that that reading books to children has a positive effect on literacy outcomes in the following ways:
- Children develop a positive attitude towards books and reading.
- Provides children with a model of reading
- Guides children in the early stages of...