The most fundamental definition of writing is words written down. This includes words or other symbols, such as hieroglyphics, written down as a means of communication. Like walking and talking, learning to write does not happen all at once, but happens gradually through continuous experiences with printed material and writing-related activities.
One of the things that makes CLiF programs unique is our amazing line-up of 64 authors, illustrators, poets, and storytellers who visit low-income, at-risk, and rural kids in schools, libraries, after school programs, childcare centers, immigrant/refugee programs, shelters and affordable housing developments, summer camps, and other places where kids spend time.
Literacy specialists want parents to prepare their children for school by sharing a love for writing, the attitude that writing is important, and the expectation that all children can become successful writers. How to do this? Encourage your child to write every day.
Bristol, NH students squealed with delight as storyteller Duncan McDougall recounted the classic story of Sylvester and the Magic Pebble. Duncan jumped around and used funny voices to bring the beloved story to life. This was the first of many visits from CLiF’s 64 talented authors, illustrators, poets, and storytellers that Bristol Elementary School will get this year as part of their Year of the Book grant.
Last week, JFK Elementary School English Language Learners spent a beautiful fall day at the Clemmons Family Farm in Charlotte, VT, listening to stories, making bean pies, and learning about African American art and culture. This special field trip was a memorable experience for these kids, who come from all over the world and are part of the Winooski elementary school’s Newcomers program.
It often goes back to reading. Children and teens who read the most tend to become more successful in school than those who do not. They have better developed processing skills, stronger comprehension skills, and a higher level of vocabulary. This knowledge is used in all areas of learning.
CLiF Presenter author/illustrator Jason Chin shares during his presentations his process for creating and revising his picture books (you can watch this video on Jason’s presentation at JFK Elementary in Winooski, VT this summer). He shows kids the various drafts his work has gone through to become his non-fiction picture books.
I think the question I am asked most frequently by individuals, organizations and the media with respect to my children’s book series, Lady Lucy’s Quest, is this: Why would a former college president (and law professor) write children’s stories?
Sometimes the question reveals genuine curiosity, a desire to understand why I write these children’s books and why both writing them for and reading them to children have such meaning for me.
When is it time to start working on reading skills? Right now. Reading begins with vocabulary, oral language, and talk. So talk with your child often. Talk and listen, share family stories, use new words, ask open-ended questions, be patient, and encourage word use.
People are getting more enlightened today with the help of literacy. Without literacy, we wouldn’t be able to shape meaning out of the world. That is why it is so important to continue fighting for the increase of literacy for everyone.