2014-07-03 / Lifestyles

MSUE enhances reading for youth

EAST LANSING . As a way to improve the school readiness of the state’s youngest learners, Michigan State University Extension’s MI Stronger Families program is now offering family book sheets to libraries, schools, day care centers and families throughout the state. Available on more than 60 of the most popular books for children, the book sheets provide tips and ideas for families and caregivers to optimize reading time and enhance the literacy of their young children.

More than just reading, children’s literacy activities can include pretend play and activities that involve math and science, and motor and thinking skills, among others. Connecting these activities with something that is fun and has meaning for the child will enhance the development of these important skills. Using books is a great way to accomplish this in early childhood. The MI Stronger Families book sheets make this easier for parents and caregivers by matching books with activities that extend hands-on learning and advance specific learning skills.

Developed from highly recommended early childhood books, each MI Stronger Families book sheet includes a short summary and tips for reading aloud with children. They also identify key questions to ask children before, during and after reading the book and offer activities that can enhance the book reading in seven main areas of school readiness: math and science, reading readiness, music and movement, motor skills, thinking skills, art, and pretend play.

In addition to promoting early literacy skills, MSU Extension also uses family book sheets to support military children through various stages of their family members’ service. Using the same format, military family book sheets are available on several early childhood books that address the distinctive situations military families face, such as deployment. Instead of literacy activities, exercises suggested on military family book sheets offer activities parents and caregivers can do with children pre-, during or postdeployment to extend the message of the book and cope with the unique stresses facing the family.

To help busy teachers, parents and caregivers quickly find and utilize family and military book sheets, a corresponding quickresponse (QR) code is available for each sheet. Use any smartphone or tablet to scan the QR codes and open a virtual copy of the book sheet. QR codes can be placed inside books, in newsletters and in other outgoing communication materials to ensure families have access to these important early childhood development materials wherever they are.

Michigan libraries, child care centers and pre-schools, as well as teachers, early childhood professionals and others working with young children may implement the QR code and family book sheet program at no cost. For more information, contact Carrie Shrier at shrier@anr.msu.edu. For parents or caregivers interested in obtaining family book sheets, visit http://msue.anr.msu.edu/resources/ family_ book_ sheets, or for military book sheets, visit http://4h.msue. msu.edu/resources/4_ h_ military_ family_ book_ sheets.

Return to top