Start at the Very Beginning– It’s a Very Good Place to Start
Early childhood literacy starts at birth, or even before birth as babies in utero listen to the gurgle-burble of their mother’s voice. When infants are first born, their eyesight is limited but they rely on their sense of hearing and their sense of taste to become familiar with their new world. Newborns are already collecting experiences and sensations as they eat, and as they get to know their families and their new home.
Libraries are in a unique position in the community to offer free storytime experiences to families from birth. There are so many anecdotes and a universe of research that supports early and enhanced reading with young children. One of my favorite books for new parents, before the ‘bun’ is even out of the ‘oven’ is a little book by Tish Rabe—a Suess-inspired book intended to be read to a baby in utero, with an introduction by Mr. Suess, aka Audrey Geisel.
The following is on the Amazon website and written by the publisher—
“Written to be read aloud to babies and babies-to-be (yes, babies in utero!), the book includes a brief introduction by Mrs. Dr. Seuss—Audrey Geisel—revealing how she and Ted were fascinated by the idea that babies could hear sounds while still in the womb—and might actually respond to the voices of their parents.”
Research studies about fetal learning, memory and reaction to their environment-to-be have been done by Penn State and appeared in obstetrics journals (Gonzalez-Gonzalez, Suarez, Perez-Pinero, Armas, Domenech & Bartha (2006).
How to Read this blog, especially if you are my professor or ECL classmate:
This blog is currently subtitled for my Early Childhood Literacy course at San Jose State University, but has been used for a Children’s Programming course as well and also taught by Professor Beth Wrenn-Estes. Programming ideas, story time themes and samples, and a simple programming budget can all be found through the pages along the top menu bar. All posts for the Early Childhood Literacy (aka INFO 269 Fall 2016 semester) will be labeled with ECL. For now, the home page of this blog also will be dedicated to resources, reflections and ideas about early childhood literacy and the ways libraries and librarians (like myself in the near future) can help families and young children make a successful start in reading, school and life.
Lennart Nilsson in utero photograph pulled from WebMD