My kids are grown and the wonderful days of reading aloud to them are over. Now I am an empty nest mom who happens to have re-entered the world of early childhood through a business venture. At 61 years of age I am selling hand made finger puppet sets (fair trade from Bolivia). My sales strategy has involved exhibitting at conferences for early childhood educators and primary school teachers. Over the past three years I have observed their reactions as they examine these colorful sets of animal puppets. It is through conversations with these professionals that I was introduced to the idea of "early literacy." So now I have a belief about what preschool children need.
The way I understand it,literacy is about language, the ability to communicate--whether it is through reading, writing or speaking. Whether you are talking with your child, teaching them vocabulary ("What is that?"), reading aloud to them, telling or making up stories, you are introducing them to language. This is a powerful tool. This allows them to express themselves, to ask for what they need, to tell their own stories and to interact with others...
I loved playing with my children when they were young. And now I love watching teachers, parents and children play with the finger puppets I sell. I also introduce parents to story books that they can use in conjunction with the puppets in order to make the book come alive on their fingers. I do this because professionals told me that the best way to get a child to love books is through play.
I think that giving a child the gift of literacy is much more important than teaching your preschool child how to READ. Structured reading seems so much like work,like pushing a child to be successful...This kind of puppet play and story telling is fun. I see it all the time! And, for me, that was the best part of being a mom.
If you are interested in seeing the finger puppet sets, check out my website www.craftsfrombolivia.com and look for the Kanagaroo and 3 Bags Full Finger Puppet Pouches.