Sunday, November 28, 2010

November 23 - Day Twenty - The Pres

Practicum Day 20
Site: City Center

Today I gave a presentation to the assembled Children's Librarians about Every Child Ready to Read. I dont' remember who said it, but I know of a quote disparaging the Eiffel Tower: "I like to go up in the Eiffel Tower because it's the only place in Paris where I don't have to see it". This is more or less how I felt about giving this presentation. The short version is that librarians have a connection with parents and caregivers who come to storytime. A specific part of ECRR are the six ideas that position a child to be successful when it comes to learning literacy in school. If librarians articulate these ideas, and how they happen during reading together with a child, parents can continue these practices at home. I also presented some ideas about the efficacy of the program, and whether or not it really fits with what libraries are and want to do.

I think a better point to make may have been something like "there are things we intuitively know and say about literacy. Here are some concrete phrases and ideas to support that." In general, I tend to agree with Mem Fox and what she had to say in her book Reading Magic, basically that reading expressively and frequently are the keys to helping children read. My thoughts are definitely influenced by a sense that being internally motivated to read is what determines reading success. This requires treating reading not as a skill in and of itself, but as a way one can experience a story or gain information. Is that compatible with ECRR? Of course, but the structure of the six elements gives the feeling of making reading and early literacy formulaic. For instance, the excitement of reading (called Print Motivation in ECRR) is just one of six elements but I think it has a more underlying quality than, say, learning letters.

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