Value of Traditional Books in Early Literacy
Traditional books play an important role in your child's early reading experiences. Printed books add hands-on interaction to the joy of reading, prompting kids to learn at an early age to explore and appreciate books.
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It's hard for kids - and grownups! - not to love traditional books. We're drawn to the colorful images and playful characters, as well as the cozy reading times with family and friends.
Part of the benefit of introducing, and relying on, traditional books is that there is no shortage of books and printed materials to draw from when we are planning story times.
Books are available for little or no cost at libraries.
Many book titles are easily ordered online, and at reasonable costs.
Without discounting the benefits of technology, I believe in the value of traditional story books to the early learning community. Traditional books complement the reading experience in ways that e-readers cannot.
Why traditional books?
Here are a few ideas to consider:
- Reading from printed material is a tactile experience. Books have size and weight, pages to flip, flaps to lift, padded covers, or "feely" inserts.
- Children can pick up a book and immediately become engaged, while the e-reader requires knowledge and time to access a desired story page or app. Even though young people are known to be adept at figuring out the technology, an adult needs to be available to assist with the acquisition.
- Traditional books do not require batteries, software updates, etc.
- Traditional books are read without the distractions that come with online reading, such as advertisements, music or screen prompts.
- Printed materials such as activity books and coloring books initiate practice of hands-on skills involving pencils, crayons, erasers, or stickers.
- Traditionally, books released by a publishing company have undergone a rigorous review/editing process, which must now be translated to the online market. With so much information available online, it is important to be aware of the quality and content of reading sites.
There are many studies that discuss the issue of printed material vs digital text.
Here are a couple examples:
1. This article discusses a study indicating better comprehension achieved in some cases through printed books.
2. This article guides parents through the pros and cons of both options.
A combination of both digital and printed reading material may still be the best solution, with parents and teachers engaging with kids and interacting as they read.
Regardless of the medium, the reading process benefits kids with opportunities to ask questions, make comments, and express their emotions.
Make the most of reading times!
We can choose from a wide range of options when making books available for independent reading at all levels, including cloth for babies, board books for toddlers, and picture books for preschoolers, and chapter books for early readers.
Whether reading with one child or a small group, teach young readers to take time to appreciate the whole book.
1. Examine the cover for characters or words that might provide clues to the story.
2. Identify the title, the author and the illustrator.
3.Draw attention to the way words are made up of the letters of the alphabet, displayed on the chart on the classroom wall!
4. Make books accessible on low shelves or tables so children can make selections on their own.
5. Don't put too many titles on the shelf at one time. This may be distracting.
6. Keep covers visible. Avoid stacking books.
7. Refresh titles often.
Early childhood is where a journey into developing language and reading skills begins.Traditionally published books can be an valuable part of that journey.
Keep traditional books available to complement kids' reading experiences, so every page they turn becomes a new adventure and a quest for more books to explore.
Read and enjoy!