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National literacy month

September is National Literacy Month, and a great time to learn about early literacy in your child's early childhood classroom. Early childhood educators know that literacy skills can begin with reading to infants. Literacy skills for vocabulary development in young children can begin by having conversations, naming pictures in a book, and doing fingerplays with young children.

Variety of programs and activities for early literacy  Children in Chicago's Headstart Early Literacy Program choose books to keep
Variety of programs and activities for early literacy Children in Chicago's Headstart Early Literacy Program choose books to keep
Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images
Books open doors
Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Primrose Learning Center in the Lakewood Ranch area of Sarasota promotes early literacy in all of the classrooms, beginning in the infant rooms. Teachers in the infant room read books daily while holding infants. Board books are available for toddlers to hold and manipulate the pages. Literacy skills are promoted in pre-kindergaretn and kindergarten classrooms by having favorite books for children to explore. Children are taught to appreciate quality children's literature with appealing topics for young children. Vocabulary development is also a part of the early literacy program at Primrose. Classroom conversations are encouraged and children are encouraged to discuss topics and ideas when participating in hands-on learning activities.

Writing is an important of literacy, and early writing skills are introduced in all classrooms at Primrose. Children are encouraged to use a variety of writing tools. Crayons are used for beginning writing when children are allowed to "scribble" at an early age. Paint brushes are also a favorite tool for early writing skills. Drawing picture stories encourages children in early writing skills. Writing letters and progressing to to writing words with invented spelling and later phonetically are all early writing skills that are part of early literacy at Primrose.

Primrose also promotes early literacy with its community outreach. The center donated 291 books in March of 2014 to the community program Mothers Helping Mothers to promote early literacy for less fortunate children.

Celebrate September as National Literacy Month by discovering the early literacy program in your child's early education center.

You will enjoy the included video of children reading to rescue dogs. Reading to dogs has become a popular activity that many communities offer to encourage children to practice reading aloud. The Sarasota County Library System offers Reading to the Dogs on selected days. Check out the community's library calendar at www.sclibs.net to find a library that offers this fun activity.