March 2024 Newsletter – Best Practices When Reading with Children: What Can Families do to Support Literacy Development at Home?

What Can Families do to Support Literacy Development at Home?

There are many opportunities to help children learn the skills needed on the path to literacy. Educators provide many of these opportunities throughout the school day. At home, there are also many ways families can support literacy development for their little ones. Partnerships between school and home are very beneficial to children’s literacy. As educators, we must be a resource on how families can support literacy development at home.

Let families know what books are being read in the classroom, and what skills the children are learning from them. Share with families what the children are learning and working on in school. Share strategies they can use at home to teach similar skills.

Families can be encouraged to:

  • Teach children nursery rhymes and songs from different cultural traditions to strengthen language development. This can also help children develop an understanding of the patterns of language while learning about different cultures.
  • Model the behavior they want to see. Setting aside time for reading away from other distractions will show children how reading can be incorporated into daily life. Adults at home should also let their children see them engage in reading for pleasure on a regular basis.
  • Hang different kinds of print around the house, and label objects in the home. This shows the importance of language, reading, and writing.
  • Speak to children as a way to increase vocabulary and develop language. Children who have more conversations with adults learn more words.
  • Play word games, whether they are informal or actual board games, as a fun way to promote literacy.
  • Make books accessible at all times will encourage kids to read. It is helpful to have a mixture of familiar and new books, which can be accomplished by frequent visits to the local library.
  • Provide a wide variety of books to read. Favorite picture books can provide comfort. Graphic novels can keep reluctant readers engaged. Nonfiction books should be incorporated into reading time, as they can provide knowledge of science, history, cultures, and many other topics. Children who have more background knowledge have an easier time learning new concepts.

Another way to support literacy at home is to encourage the child to tell stories. This will help them gain a better understanding of the rhythm of storytelling, which will benefit them as they grow and read more complex stories.

At-home reading experiences should be based on children’s interests, meaning that families should be responsive to children’s level of engagement and attention during reading activities. Remind families that it is fine to put a bookmark in a book if their child loses interest in the book.

Whatever methods are used, literacy support at home should be encouraged, and early childhood educators are a valuable resource for families.


For the main article Best Practices When Reading with Children, CLICK HERE

For the article Tips and Strategies to Use When Reading With Children, CLICK HERE

For the article Developmentally Appropriate Literacy Learning in Early Childhood, CLICK HERE

For the article What are Interactive Read-Alouds?, CLICK HERE

March 2024 Newsletter – Best Practices When Reading with Children: What are Interactive Read-Alouds?

What are Interactive Read-Alouds?

Reading aloud to children is a common occurrence in schools. An effective and productive way to maximize the benefits of reading to kids is to conduct interactive read-alouds.

Interactive read-alouds offer planned opportunities for the students to interact with the text. During interactive read-alouds, teachers read carefully selected books and stories to the students. Throughout the reading, teachers stop to ask thought-provoking discussion questions, encouraging students to actively engage with the story that is being read. The interactions can include:

  • Asking prediction questions.
  • Asking about characters’ emotions or actions.
  • Talking to a partner about what was just read.
  • Giving a gesture of approval or disapproval of something that is occurring in the story.
  • Acting out what the character in the story may be doing or feeling.

These are just a few ways to encourage the children to actively participate throughout the read-aloud process.

There are numerous benefits to interactive read-alouds. In addition to building literacy foundations, they promote a sense of classroom community. In a community,  teachers and students connect through conversation and sharing.

This reading time allows teachers to expose students to age-appropriate, complex, and engaging stories that they may not be able to read on their own. Reading these books will help develop and build vocabulary and knowledge to prepare them for later reading.

Interactive read-alouds allow educators to model reading fluency, effective comprehension, and vocabulary which students need to develop to become strong readers. Read-alouds also help children strengthen their listening skills and increase their interest in reading.

Effective interactive read-alouds do not just happen on their own. This takes strategic preparation from the teacher. To plan an interactive read-aloud, choose the book or story you want to read with intentionality. Preview the book and think about the reading skills that you want the children to learn. Consider the other learning opportunities that exist based on the topic of the book and be sure to capitalize on those learning experiences as well.

Plan the skills you want to teach and how you will do so. Choose and mark where you will stop reading and note what you will ask the students to do at those points. Rereading the story multiple times in multiple lessons is of great benefit to the children, teaching different standards and skills each time, so plan on doing so.

There are many resources on how to plan an effective interactive read-aloud, and many suggestions on great books to use. Gather those books, make your plan, and set children on their journey to literacy.


For the main article Best Practices When Reading with Children, CLICK HERE

For the article Tips and Strategies to Use When Reading With Children, CLICK HERE

For the article Developmentally Appropriate Literacy Learning in Early Childhood, CLICK HERE

For the article What Can Families do to Support Literacy Development at Home?, CLICK HERE

March 2024 Newsletter – Best Practices When Reading with Children: Developmentally Appropriate Literacy Learning in Early Childhood

Developmentally Appropriate Literacy Learning in Early Childhood

As early childhood educators, we are responsible for teaching the pre-literacy skills that will prepare our students to learn how to read as they get older. The goal is to provide the background knowledge they need to understand how letters and language work. As with all lessons, we have to ensure that literacy learning is fun, interactive, and developmentally appropriate. Using developmentally appropriate literacy activities will ensure that children develop a love of reading.

The single most effective way to teach young children the foundations of literacy, and establish a love for reading is to read to them daily. Reading aloud to young children is a fun and effective way to teach the skills emerging readers need. Another article in this newsletter examines further the effective use of interactive read aloud to teach literacy skills.

Encourage frequent trips to the library, attend book fairs, and host read-aloud events on a regular basis. If you are not able to bring in professional entertainers to read books to children, invite immediate and extended family members to visit the classroom and read their favorite children’s books to the group. There may be high school students in your area who need volunteer hours – They can volunteer to do so at your center.

When children begin to show interest, introduce the alphabet, starting with relevant letters, such as the letters of their name. Learning about upper and lower case letters, and beginning to recognize individual letter sounds in words are skills that are the foundation of reading. Helping our preschoolers develop phonemic awareness and master the alphabet is extremely important. There are many ways to help our students with phonemic awareness. Using songs, finger plays, games, poems, and stories with patterns of rhyme and alliteration will help our students with phonemic awareness.

The environment of our classroom is an important component of literacy learning. We must provide our students with print-rich environments that provide opportunities and tools for children to use written language for a variety of purposes. Label the objects in the environment so children associate the letters/words with the objects in the classroom.

Build components of literacy into every activity and lesson. Give the students opportunities to engage in play that incorporates literacy tools by adding paper and pencils to all of the learning centers.  Reading, writing, and listening centers should be well-stocked and accessible at all times. Both fiction and nonfiction books should be available in all centers to support the theme or the concept that is being taught.

Finally, reading experiences and lessons should be pleasurable and fun. When children enjoy the process, they are more likely to learn.

Children who learn basic comprehension skills, develop a significant vocabulary, and establish early phonemic awareness will be ready to learn more complex literacy skills as they enter elementary school. It is our responsibility to provide children with meaningful, everyday experiences, in which they build this foundation. Learning these foundational skills during the preschool years is of utmost importance if children become strong readers and communicators.


For the main article Best Practices When Reading with Children, CLICK HERE

For the article Tips and Strategies to Use When Reading With Children, CLICK HERE

For the article What are Interactive Read-Alouds?, CLICK HERE

For the article What Can Families do to Support Literacy Development at Home?, CLICK HERE

March 2024 Newsletter – Best Practices When Reading with Children: Tips and Strategies to Use When Reading With Children

Tips and Strategies to Use When Reading With Children

Reading to children has been proven to promote literacy learning. As educators, we are able to begin laying the foundations of literacy regardless of their age. Reading books to kids is a fun way to introduce the skills needed to begin to learn how to read. So what are ways we can make the most of our reading experiences to provide the most benefit?

Let’s look at some tips and strategies we can use.

  • Reading aloud to kids should be part of a daily routine. Begin with shorter books and time, as children get older and their attention spans grow we can spend more time on this activity. Allow the kids to select the book to read, this will get the kids involved in the process.
  • When reading to kids, use a technique called dialogue reading. Dialogue reading involves talking about what is being read. Use the text and illustrations to talk about what is happening in the story and on the page. This will help the child make connections, explore, and explain what is happening in the story.
  • To make the read-aloud experience more enjoyable and beneficial, make it interactive. Show emotion, use different voices, incorporate actions, engage the senses, point out pictures, and allow the students to participate and interact with the story. Another article in this newsletter dives further into what interactive read-alouds are, their benefits, and how to incorporate them into the daily routine.
  • Read the same book over and over again. Children love to jump in to “read” their favorite parts of the book back to you, based on their memory of the story. Studies have shown that reading the same book multiple times can help children develop language skills and improve reading comprehension.
  • When reading aloud slide your finger under the words from left to right as you read with fluency using somewhat exaggerated expressions. Finger-point reading helps children make voice-to-print connections, which is very important in the literacy process. When reading to kids, be sure to define new words that they do not know. Explain a few of the words before beginning to read the book. Each time you re-read the book, you can explain different new words. This will help build the children’s vocabulary.

No matter what tips or strategies you use when reading to kids, the most important thing is to make it fun and interactive. It will lay the foundation for literacy learning and is one of the most important tasks an early childhood educator can do.


For the main article Best Practices When Reading with Children, CLICK HERE

For the article Developmentally Appropriate Literacy Learning in Early Childhood, CLICK HERE

For the article What are Interactive Read-Alouds?, CLICK HERE

For the article What Can Families do to Support Literacy Development at Home?, CLICK HERE

March 2024 Newsletter – Best Practices When Reading with Children

As early childhood educators, placing our young students on the path to literacy is one of our more important tasks. Learning to read begins as early as babies when they hear and respond to the human voice. Supporting oral language development in babies and toddlers will help with literacy learning down the road. Children need to hear and understand spoken language to begin their steps toward literacy. Becoming aware of the different sounds of the language, and learning about letters and words in print is the foundation for learning how to read and write. As our students get older we are able to introduce more foundations of literacy by reading books with them.

Reading to children is one of the best activities in promoting literacy in young children. As ECE professionals, we are developing the skills that act as the foundation for literacy. When we share books with very young children we support emerging literacy. We help children learn that pictures and words are symbols that can be interpreted, children are exposed to new words, increasing their vocabulary, and we help children familiarize themselves with the conventions of print in our language. This lays the foundation for learning to read.

In this month’s newsletter, we will discuss best practices when reading aloud to children. We will give tips and strategies to use when reading aloud, and discuss what interactive read-alouds are and how they can be used in the classroom. We will also explore what families can do to support literacy development at home and delve into what developmentally appropriate literacy learning in preschools looks like. In this month’s blog, we will also discuss how we can use our reading times as opportunities to reach multi-language learners and culturally diverse classrooms.


For the article Tips and Strategies to Use When Reading With Children, CLICK HERE

For the article Developmentally Appropriate Literacy Learning in Early Childhood, CLICK HERE

For the article What are Interactive Read-Alouds?, CLICK HERE

For the article What Can Families do to Support Literacy Development at Home?, CLICK HERE

ChildCare Education Institute Offers No-Cost Online Course on Making the Most of Read-Alouds

ChildCare Education Institute® (CCEI), an online child care training provider dedicated exclusively to the early care and education workforce, offers LIT103: Making the Most of Read-Alouds as a no-cost trial course to new CCEI users March 1-31, 2024.

There are many theories related to effective ways to build literacy and reading skills, and we learn more through research and practice every day. One thing we know for sure is that not all children come to Kindergarten with the same skills, experiences, or background knowledge.  Early childhood educators have the opportunity to create rich language environments to help level the playing field for all children.

Technically, any time a caregiver reads a story aloud to children, a read-aloud is conducted.  However, in the early learning environment (birth-age 8), the term read-aloud includes more than just reading the words on the pages of a book out loud.  Read-alouds, and the activities and conversations that accompany them, should be at the center of a program′s early literacy approach.

In early childhood education, read-aloud strategies are used to promote essential literacy skills long before children learn to decode the written word.  A high quality read-aloud process includes pre-reading, during-reading, and after-reading strategies that promote comprehension and interpretation.  Effective read-aloud activities help children engage with the text, build literary language and background knowledge, and make meaningful connections with content. Along the way, quality read-aloud strategies promote oral communication skills and an appreciation for learning and exploring all that books have to offer.

During early childhood, it is important to focus on the characteristics of fluent readers, not just which letters make which sounds. With that in mind, read-alouds provide a developmentally appropriate opportunity to promote essential literacy skills.  Children benefit from read-alouds from infancy through elementary school. Indeed, many experts believe that students should continue “shared readings” throughout their middle school and high school years.

Reading to children is a daily occurrence in early childhood environments. This course outlines the preparation and skills required to ensure that read-alouds are engaging and promote important early literacy skills. The course covers the process of conducting effective, meaningful read-alouds that build foundational literacy skills that children will use for the rest of their lives.

“Engaging in read-alouds can help children build bonds with their caregivers through positive interactions,” says Leslie Coleman, Education Director of CCEI.  “Read-alouds can also build a sense of classroom community and most of all, read-alouds are joyful experiences.”

LIT103: Making the Most of Read-Alouds is a two-hour, intermediate-level course and grants 0.2 IACET CEU upon successful completion.  Current CCEI users with active, unlimited annual subscriptions can register for professional development courses at no additional cost when logged in to their CCEI account. Users without subscriptions can purchase child care training courses as block hours through CCEI online enrollment.

For more information, visit or call 1.800.499.9907, prompt 3, Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. EST

About ChildCare Education Institute, LLC

ChildCare Education Institute® (CCEI), a StraighterLine Company, provides high-quality, distance education certificates and child care training programs in an array of child care settings, including preschool centers, family child care, prekindergarten classrooms, nanny care, online daycare training and more. CCEI offers 200+ online child care training courses in English and Spanish to meet licensing, recognition program and Head Start requirements. CCEI also has online certification programs that provide the coursework requirement for national credentials including the CDA, Director and Early Childhood Credentials. CCEI, an approved partner of the Council for Professional Recognition, is accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC), is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) and is accredited as an Authorized Provider by the International Accreditors for Continuing Education and Training (IACET). For more information, visit:

Read-Alouds as an Opportunity to Reach Dual Language Learners and Culturally Diverse Classrooms

Storytime is a great way to teach the fundamental skills necessary to begin learning how to read. As classrooms have become more culturally diverse it is imperative that literacy experiences reach those children with different languages and cultures. We can use read-alouds as an opportunity to reach all our students. How do we teach English literacy skills to students who are learning multiple languages and come from different cultures than our own?

Today’s preschools have more diversity than ever. Listening to a story that is being read aloud is different for children who may not be as proficient in English, and are learning multiple languages at once. If you have students who are multilingual, there are several strategies that can be used to reach all your students during story time.

If you speak the home language of dual language students, there are numerous ways to incorporate the language into your read-aloud. Introducing the book in the children’s home language is a great way to start. This will help with comprehension of the content of the story. If you don’t speak the home language, think of someone you could invite into your classroom to read the book with your students in their home language. You could ask a family member, community volunteer, or a bilingual staff member.

Introduce targeted vocabulary words during the read-aloud. Learn a few book-related target words, in the children’s home language. Teachers should introduce the word in both English and the home language before the read-aloud. Make clear connections between the words in English and the home language. Even if you do not speak the children’s home language, focus words are a realistic way to be intentional in making connections to the home language. Teachers who are not fluent in the home language can find the target vocabulary in the dictionary or online translation, can ask for help from the children’s family members, or find other helpful resources. The goal is to help the child connect to the English language they are learning in the classroom.

Visual aids can be very helpful when connecting children who are less proficient in English to the lesson that is being taught. Create visuals for each target vocabulary word and introduce these words. Print out an image that represents each target word or focus vocabulary word. While introducing the new vocabulary to your students, point to the appropriate image and engage the students through gestures and facial expressions. Using gestures and pointing are critical strategies that help children build a better understanding of the characters, vocabulary, and overall storyline.

Incorporating culturally relevant books will benefit all of the children in your program. They will learn something new about their friend’s culture, learn new vocabulary, and gain more world knowledge. Also, the children whose culture was represented in the book will feel celebrated and have a greater sense of belonging within the classroom, building a stronger community within your program