Friday, January 23, 2015

ECRR2 - Playing

Every Child Ready to Read 2 (ECRR2) is an early literacy guideline/parent education initiative developed by the Public Library Association (PLA) and Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) - divisions of the American Library Association.  It was originally released in 2004 and revised a few years later (hence the 2). There are five skills emphasized in ECRR2: Play, Sing, Write, Talk, Read.

This is the first in a series of posts about ECRR2, focusing on the five practices.  

The Importance of Play in Early Literacy Skills

When a child plays, she develops a variety of skills.  Through exercising her imagination, she learns about how the world works.  She develops her language skills and ability to put her thoughts into words.  Playing also helps her to think symbolically – that an item can be imagined as something else (i.e. a cardboard box is a car – or a house – or a cave).  Through playing she will process what she sees and hears in the world around her.  

Play encompasses so many of a child’s activities.  Dramatic or imaginative play can be more than enjoying a round of make believe.  As a child does artwork or crafts, he in engaging in a type of imaginative play that will not only increase his literacy skills, but also his fine motor skills.  

However, it isn’t enough for a child to play alone.  Enjoying an activity – whether it is coloring, play dough, a board game, or a tea party – is best shared with the child’s parents or other close adults.  Through this interaction a child learns not only how to properly utilize the items being played with, but how to use her words to express what she is doing.  Additionally, this is a fantastic way to bond with your child and show him that you are willing to take the time to do what they enjoy. 

While fancy toys can be fun, simple activities such as playing with blocks, creating with play dough, and drawing with crayons also encourage literacy skills without costing a lot of money. 

So, sit on the floor with your kids and dive into helping to put together a puzzle, color coloring book pages, or build a block tower.  Not only will you help them with their literacy skills, but you will all have a lot of fun!

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