Ready to Read–Some Ideas :)

Ready to Read–Some Ideas 🙂

By: Angela Gerber
Library Media Specialist
Mark Twain Elementary


As a library media specialist, I thought I could give a different, yet appropriate perspective on the types of programming that would be effective for small public libraries for READY TO READ.  My library serves a school of 400 students–120 of which are pre-K and kindergarten.  Mark Twain Elementary School in Tulsa, Oklahoma ( I used to teach-be a librarian in Ohio several years ago) also has 2 headstart classes.  So here’s my take on what small public libraries can learn from teachers that are also librarians…

Before I get ahead of myself, lets review what the Ohio READY TO READ program is for those that do not know or who want to know more.

Thousands of kindergarteners in Ohio have been going to school wholly unprepared to learn what is expected of them. Studies have shown that reading to/with a child at an early age will help them succeed. The Ohio Library Council and the State Library of Ohio have paired up to provided training for librarians to adress the literacy needs of young readers and to help their parents to develop the skills they need to read and learn. Preschool children need to learn the 6 literacy skills (incorporated into storytime) which are:

Print Motivationinterest & enjoyment of books

Phonological Awareness–ability to hear & play with smaller sounds in words

Volcabulary–knowing the names of things

Print Awarenessnoticing print, handling a book, and following the words on a page

Narrative Skillsdescribe things & events to tell stories

Letter Knowledgelearn to name letters, know they have sounds, and recognizing them elsewhere

Parents are also taught to do “dialogic reading” with their children by asking questions while they read picture books—answer their children’s questions–repeat what the child says–help & encourage them!

So what can Early Childhood Librarians do to incorporate the READY TO READ program into their storytimes? Here’s an example of what to say.

Try to find appropriate books for your age groups that will allow the kids to:

  • Answer who, what, why & how questions
  • Repeat sentences
  • Identify words that rhyme
  • Produce words that rhyme
  • Identify letters
  • Identify beginning words & sounds

They don’t all have to be in the same story of course 🙂

It also helps to relate your stories to a theme (objects, letters, events..etc.) then relate them to a song. Start and end the story with a song to make a connection (because what child doesn’t like music?) and to get them moving around so they can be ready to sit still for a few moments.  End with a craft (related to the story) and a snack.

For our headstart kids, we pick shorter stories to appease their attention span and to gain their interest from the beginning.

A good idea that we often use to create “Buddy Bags” (use some leftover summer reading bags if the budget is tight) filled with a few books related to the storytime theme for each child so that parents can continue at home—let them bring them back each week. If time and money permits, include another craft or puppet that relates.

Promote, Promote, Promote! We give each child a sticker (really its a mailing label…) and write the theme and the program name–dates and times for storytime. Make them pleasing to the eye so they don’t pitch them when they leave your sight. We also send out a newletter with the theme and what we did…also suggestions for other books to read. We also tell what literacy skills were learned in each book.

There are so many training sessions provided by OLC for parents and for librarians. Please take advantage of them! For even more information, click the READY TO READ icon on the right hand side of the page.

Good Luck and get those children reading!!



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