We all know the importance of early literacy, but did you know that you (yes you!) are the most important tool?
“There are many fun ways to introduce words and literacy to your child from a very early age,” said Karen Gawen, Young People’s Services Supervisor from Sunshine Coast Council. “Singing songs, telling stories, or simply chatting about things as you go about your day are all great ways to help build the foundations for learning.”
The Queensland State Government’s First Five Forever initiative is a powerhouse behind promoting this cause. The program provides a comprehensive range of free resources including Rhymetime and Storytime sessions, and advice on how to bring early literacy into everyday life.
The colourful Story Seats that have popped up in parks across the region are also part of this initiative.
“Story Seats have been created to engage and promote literacy to families across the region in popular, high-usage parks,” explained Karen. “While the seats are a perfect spot to take books and read together they are also designed to not need a book. They are there so parents and caregivers can spend some quality time with their children just talking, reading, singing and playing. There’s no books or props needed – a caregiver is the best literacy playmate a child can have!”
TALK: Visit a seat to take time out to sit and talk to your child. Talk about the seat, the graphics, the characters, ask your child questions about what they think the characters are doing, what are their names, how do they think the book would end? Talk about everything and anything! Your little one is bursting with new ideas and questions so let them chat. READ: Use the graphics on the seat to aid in early literacy by helping your child read the text, count the characters, point out colours or make up stories about the images or what they think will happen next.
SING: Create silly songs using the images or words on the graphics. Sing any song your child loves! Singing and the repetition of the words helps your child learn vocabulary and communication skills.
PLAY: Children don’t need expensive toys to have fun, they just love to play and can make up a game on the spot. Use the images on the seat to help make up games. Mad Magpie loves to swoop and fly – swoop around the park or lie next to each other on the grass and see how many birds you can count. Josephine is a dancing kangaroo – make up dance moves and have fun! Your child’s imagination is magical so let them come up with ideas and create games you can play with them.
The Children Who Loved Books by Peter Carnavas,
Russell Park, Montville
Grug by Ted Prior, Muller Park, Bli Bli
Home in the Rain by Bob Graham , Maroochy Lion’s Park, Maroochydore
Mad Magpie by Gregg Dreise Power Memorial Park, Mudjimba
The Big Fish by Pamela Allen, Shelly Beach Park, Shelly Beach
Bertha and Bear by Christine Sharp, Kenilworth Town Park, Kenilworth
Where is the Green Sheep? by Mem Fox/Judy Horacek Grahame Stewart Park, Currumundi
I’m a Dirty Dinosaur by Janeen Brian/Ann James, Pioneer Park, Landsborough
Jump and Shout! by Mike Dumbleton/Peter Carnavas, Brightwater Community Lake Park, Brightwater
Josephine Wants to Dance by Jackie French/Bruce Whatley, Nelson Park, Alexandra Headland