How do you promote early literacy without saying a word? Early literacy spots! At MCPL, we create interactive displays, “early literacy spots,” designed to promote language and knowledge for preschool children. I try to rotate the spots seasonally. Here’s what I came up for winter:
One of our lovely interns, Angela Hircock, transformed one of our columns into a giant ruler. This unassuming column has become an important destination to our young patrons. It also effectively encourages children to use a tool of measurement and to evaluate relative sizes. Each season we come up with different objects against which children can compare their size. This winter we chose pictures of objects and with the help of yet another shining intern, Maggie Block, we arranged them according to size. The objects included:
Evergreen tree 8′; Zamboni machine 7′; Ski: 6′; Snowboard: 5′; Shovel: 4.25′; Sled: 3.33′; Snowshoes: 2′; Ice skate blade: 1′; Large mittens: 8.44″; Cup of Coco: 4.5″
Early Literacy spots in Unlikely Places
Need a captive audience? There’s no better place than the bathrooms! We have two family bathrooms in the children’s department. While little ones are squirming or waiting for their siblings to finish, I created two displays to get kids and grown-ups talking and thinking.
This is a simple matching game, where children are encouraged to match the photo of boots to their most likely owner. I found some lovely photos from the Microsoft office image collection: a cowgirl, hiker, firefighter, young person in a snowsuit, and a skier – all with boots to match. This display encourages speaking vocabulary and knowledge building, in that children are asked to name and describe the people and potential uses of their boots.
Alongside the traditional “Three Little Kittens” rhyme, I placed a number of red, yellow, and blue mittens. Children are encouraged to count how many of each colored mitten they can find. This activity helps to foster one-to-one counting (where each object is counted only once), as well as classifying objects based on an observable characteristic.