Parents are a Child’s First Teacher

Posted on August 14, 2019

by April S

Busy parents often don’t think a lot about the countless daily interactions that go by in the blink of an eye. You get up, feed the kids, get dressed, go to work, come home, cook dinner and eat … then it’s bath time, storytime and bedtime. Of course, that’s not everything, but you get the point. As a parent of two small children, most days are kind of a blur. And it’s sometimes hard to think about the fact that all of those little moments, the ones that often seem like small potatoes, actually matter a whole lot in the scheme of things. Well, they all matter on some level, which is kind of a lot to deal with sometimes (Am I right parents?).

Do kids listen to what parents say? Sometimes it’s hard to tell, especially when they’re running around playing. However, I’ve been surprised numerous times by the things my kids say, things I’ve said to them and thought they just weren’t listening. Children are constantly absorbing information even when we are not aware of it. Just the other day while playing make believe with my youngest child it became crystal clear that learning (and yes, listening) had taken place.

Even though children can learn quite a bit on their own they do need a little help from time to time. As parents, there are a lot of approaches we can adopt to help encourage a healthy learning environment with our little ones. Continue reading to learn more.

Talk Sing Read Write Play

In 2017, the Pediatric Academic Society released research touting the benefits of reading to a child beginning in early infancy. The findings suggest reading to your young child can boost vocabulary and reading skills four years later, before they even start elementary school.

Ready to Read

Did you know nearly two-thirds of Toledo’s children are not ready to enter kindergarten? The Toledo Lucas County Public Library understands the challenges many communities face regarding literacy. The Ready to Read program is a parent education initiative designed to help families prepare children (birth-preschool) for kindergarten.

The small team of librarians that make up the Ready to Read team have worked diligently to increase their presence throughout the community.

Since it’s inception in April 2014, their ongoing and ever evolving goal has been to meet parents outside of what we know as a traditional Library setting. To accomplish this goal they have set up shop in places many parents spend time with children:

  • Grocery stores: 55 visits
  • Laundromats: 17 visits
  • TARTA: 14 rides
  • NICU: 10 visits
  • Waiting rooms: 200 visits

The Ready to Read team are continuing to work on expanding their partnerships throughout the community to provide education on effective early literacy practices. They are dedicated to making a real difference in the lives of parents and children. As a matter of fact, the team have meet with over 16,000 adults and around 14,000 children to date. That’s incredible!

The team provides information specifically designed to help educate parents on ways they can help their children build early literacy skills, setting their children up to become lifelong learners. The program promotes five early literacy practices: talking, singing, reading, writing and playing. And since parents are a child’s first teacher, our team of librarians let parents know that by engaging in these five simple practices every day with their children, they will be helping to ensure their kids will be ready for kindergarten when the time comes.

Let me just say, these five simple practices or concepts really work (even if you don’t have time for all of them every day, do the best you can). For instance, before encouraging my little ones to sing songs they were having issues with speech development. You know, when you can’t understand a word your kid is saying? By integrating more children’s music and singing activities into our daily routine, their speech and vocabulary skills noticeably improved. Children’s brains are absolutely amazing!

For information or to schedule a training session, please email or call 419.259.5253.

Further Reading:

Related Library Materials
StoryMaking: The Maker Movement Approach to Literacy for Early Learners by Robin Chappele Thompson and Michelle Kay Compton
Strategies and Lessons for Improving Basic Early Literacy Skills by Bob Algozzine, Emme Barnes, Mary Beth Marr and Tina McClanahan
Excellent books for early and eager readers / Kathleen T. Isaacs
You are your child's first teacher : encouraging your child's natural development from birth to age six / by Rahima Baldwin Dancy
Beyond bedtime stories : a parents guide to promoting reading, writing, and other literacy skills from birth to 5 / V. Susan Bennett-Armistead, Nell K. Duke, Annie M. Moses

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