Teen Moms Learn How to Get Their Children Ready to Read

Fabiola is 17 years old. She has a 2-year-old daughter and a son who is 1. Fabiola likes to play with and sing to them. Recently, the teen mom learned during a workshop presented by the Los Angeles Public Library that those are two of the five things all parents should do with their children to prepare them for reading.

Eva Mitnick, acting manager of Youth Services for the LAPL, along with other children’s librarians, are giving workshops to parents, like the one Fabiola attended, to teach them ways to encourage interest in books and reading beginning at birth. In September, Mitnick gave the Every Child Ready to Read presentation to nine teenage moms who attend parenting classes at the El Nido Family Center in Pacoima.

The moms had children ranging in age from 2 months to 5 years. Mitnick assured the moms that it wasn’t their job to teach their kids how to read but, rather, to make sure they are ready to be taught by the time they start kindergarten. The Every Child Ready to Read curriculum teaches the five easy activities all parents should do with their kids to prepare them for school: talk, sing, write, read and play.

“If your kids start kindergarten ready to learn, they will read faster,” Mitnick said.

Every child will be ready to read if the parents:

  • Talk – Talk about pictures in books, ask open-ended questions and chat during everyday moments, like diaper changes and bath time.
  • Sing – Kids and babies love to hear singing, which slows language down for them to help them learn sounds.
  • Read – Books build vocabulary and spark imaginations.
  • Write – As soon as a child can hold a crayon, he can draw. Scribbles turn into pictures, which are symbols with meaning, just like letters. Show him what his name looks like in writing.
  • Play – Playing helps kids learn how to talk, share and use their imaginations. Simple activities, like sock puppets or a bowl of blocks to stir, are all most little children need.

Mitnick told the moms that some kids start school not knowing how to open a book or the names of any of the letters. She said a great way to turn a home into a “learning zone” is to visit the library often, and she encouraged each of them to get a free library card.

Fabiola said her daughter already likes books, especially ones about Dora the Explorer. She thinks it’s amazing how her daughter can name shapes and colors in the books. Fabiola said she thinks the workshop will help her support her children’s success. “I liked it because I got to learn some more different stuff,” she added

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