Early childhood literacy seminar to teach impact of childhood reading

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School is starting back up again, but reading might not be the first thing on a child’s mind. A workshop hosted by Missouri Educational Consultants Wednesday night hopes to change that. 

The Early Literacy for Providers workshop will explain to childcare providers Missouri’s early literacy standards, the stages of early literacy and methods to get children eager to read early on.  

Teaching literacy at a young age is not only important, but it might be a growing issue. According to a study by Scholastic’s The State of Kids & Reading, in 2017 only 51 percent of children surveyed said they enjoyed reading books for fun.  

That number dropped from 58 percent in 2012 and 60 percent in 2010. 

Founder of Missouri Educational Consultants Brandy Van de Riet said increasing children’s interest in reading is something that parents, teachers and childcare providers can easily do.

“The engagement of a child in whether they like to read or don't like to read is based off of early learning experiences,” Van de Riet said. “A lot of times those experiences don't really happen until formal school, where children haven't had the opportunity to spend time with parents reading picture books.” 

One of the biggest factors that affects early childhood literacy and interest in reading is family income. A study by the Children’s Literacy Foundation showed that 61 percent of low-income families have no age-appropriate books in their homes. While middle-income families have access to nearly 13 books per child. 

“There can be that educational gap that happens once children come to school and that personal success that they have,” she said. “And then moving on later in high school if they're not feeling successful as a learner, then that can inhibit their desire to graduate or their desire to finish an education.”

According to the Children’s Literacy Foundation, one in six children who do not read proficiently in the third grade do not graduate high school. And nearly 68 percent of fourth graders read below a proficient level. The income gap continues to be an issue here, with 82 percent of those children coming from low income families.  

“An adult in poverty tends to have about the same vocabulary as a 3-year-old in a professional household, just because their language register is very different” Van de Riet said. “It’s something you can fix through reading aloud to your kids and thinking about not using slang.”

Wednesdays seminar takes place from 6pm to 8pm. For more information, visit the Missouri Educational Consultant’s website