November was Family Literacy Month, a topic close to my heart. I have seven granddaughters (ages 6 – 13) and feel strongly about that topic, which also was the focus of my grad studies. The girls have been leaving love notes, drawing pictures, and writing stories and songs since they could hang onto their own crayons. They’re able language users. They speak, listen, read, write, and reason in creative ways. And they can convincingly argue their ways out of most situations.
So, what practical things can you do to encourage literacy at home? Here are a few ideas. Teach your children and others to use literacy as a tool to understand how the world around them works (for example, encourage them to keep a whiteboard calendar to organize their lives). At home, read to them; have them read to you. Install a reading light next to their bed so they can get a chapter or so in before they fall asleep. Keep reading aloud to them even when they’re proficient readers themselves. Use reading and writing in practical ways. Keep writing and art supplies where kids can get to them without asking.
Connect reading and writing to enjoyable activities (such as visiting a farm, learning about a new sport, learning about a new pet, or making or creating recipes). Take your children shopping with you; let them read labels and pick out the vegetables and products. Lots of words surround us in our daily environment. Ask children to read them, talk about them, and use them. And have lots of conversations with your children and teens, too.
The author/illustrator, Hannah Miles Pierrou, gave me her Farm to Film children’s book to use as a book giveaway. I thought of how nicely it connected to children’s lives, especially during Family Literacy Month. And it arrived wrapped in beautiful paper created from the artwork inside the book, perfect for gift-giving during the holidays.
Young readers will be captivated by this debut alphabet book. It tells the visual story of discoveries the young girl sees at Pop and Gram’s farm (“Pop’s OLD CAMERA makes the perfect eye to view the WORLD”) through Grandpa’s antique camera lens. Pierrou’s inviting artwork includes pictures of an alpaca, bee, cow, deer, eggs, fox, goat, gardening produce, and farm activities. These beautiful illustrations form the centerpiece of each double-page spread and complement Pierrou’s representations of rural life. The written text is fun to read aloud, too. The unique watercolor illustrations are created in a soft nature palette of warm pastels, and many of them are filled with geometric designs. Readers, young and old, will enjoy this breath-of-fresh-air alphabetical adventure. Stay tuned for other giveaway contests in the future. — Keep reading! Nancy