Marshmallow Mondays


Early Literacy
09.02.13, 8:46 AM
Filed under: Reading | Tags: , ,

Today’s post features a guest writer named Sarah McAlanis, who discusses the importance of literacy at an early age.  Most of you know how much of a reader Lily has become at just three years old, so I couldn’t agree with Sarah more on how strong of an impact reading to infants can have on their development.

Meet Sarah.

1012528_444270115686499_467489274_n(1)My name is Sarah McAlanis.  I am a 2000 graduate of Tri-Valley High School.  I graduated from Bloomsburg University in 2004 with a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and a bachelor’s degree in Special Education.  I also earned certification to teach English in grades seven through twelve in Pennsylvania schools.  Since 2004, I have been employed by Millersburg Area High School as a Special Education teacher.  In December of 2008, I graduated from Bloomsburg University with my master’s degree in Reading.  I graduated in December of 2012 from Walden University with my second master’s degree in Special Education. 

I have always been an avid reader and a life long learner.  My favorite genres are mysteries, thrillers, and twist novels.  My favorite authors are Gregory Maguire, Mary Higgins Clark, and Phillipa Gregory.  My favorite past times are spending time with my wonderful husband George, our six month old son, George III, and rescued Saint Bernard, Delilah.

The Importance of Literacy.

As Bridgit has stated in many of her previous blogs, reading is an essential skill for everyone.  Even though reading is promoted consistently, many people do not realize how early reading should be introduced to children.

The day my husband and I found out that I was expecting, I began reading and talking to my child. In my graduate studies, I learned that children who are exposed to reading on a regular basis are less likely to have learning disabilities.  My studies recommended that from day one of a baby being born, reading to him/her is essential to developing language and reading skills.  The reason to begin reading to a child so early is so that the child will hear the tone and expression in your voice and the sounds that words make.  This is also why rhyming books and repetitive books such as “Brown Bear, Brown Bear” assist a child in hearing repetitive sounds and in word recognition as he or she gets older. So, I read aloud many nursery rhymes and fairy tales.

From the moment I gave birth, I have held my son on my lap as I read to him and I point to each word I read so that he sees each word.  This will assist his language development later in life.  I also talk to him about each of the pictures that he sees.  For instance, if there is a dog in the picture, I talk to him about what a dog is and compare the dog in the book to our dog.  I also talk to him about sounds a dog makes and behaviors that a dog exhibits.

Also, singing to a child is a wonderful way to promote language.  As I sing to my son daily, I print the lyrics to the lullabies that I sing to him and point to each word.  He also loves our bedtime routine of a story, a prayer, and lullabies after his bath and before bed. As a result of all of this, my son responded to my voice immediately when he was born.

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