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    Early Childhood Education Fair

    Kim Mattingly

    The Messenger-Inquirer recently did an article reporting that tests are showing that “nearly half of local students not ready for kindergarten.”  Governer Steve Beshear reported last week that 51% of children entering Kindergarten in Kentucky were unprepared.  The tests took place at the beginning of the school year to assess whether a child can use a five- to six-word sentence, sing simple songs, name shapes and colors and use scissors, pencils, and crayons, name letters and numbers, and dress themselves, among other things.

    Many of the abilities tested in the assessment are early literacy skills.  Early Literacy is everything that a child knows about reading and writing before he or she actually learns how to read and write.  There are six basic skills that comprise Early Literacy:

    1. Print Motivation: includes being interested in and enjoying books
    2. Print Awareness:  includes noticing print everywhere, knowing how to handle a book, and knowing how to follow the written word on the page
    3. Letter Knowledge: includes knowing that letters are different from each other, knowing letter names and sounds, and recognizing letters everywhere
    4. Vocabulary: includes knowing the names of things
    5. Phonological Awareness: includes hearing and playing with the smaller sounds of words and recognizing that words are made up of a number of different sounds
    6. Narrative Skills: includes describing things and events, telling stories, knowing the order of events (sequencing), and making predictions (what might happen next)

    There are also five practices that children need to get ready to read, listen, and write:

    1. Talking– listening and joining in on conversations
    2. Writing– including drawing and scribbling
    3. Reading– reading together helps children become proficient
    4. Playing– helps children learn how the world works and to develop language
    5. Singing– helps children learn new words and hear the smaller sounds in words

    Early childhood education and early literacy are very important in brain development and preparing children to enter school ready to learn.

    The Daviess County Public Library is hosting and Early Childhood Education Fair on Saturday, March 1, 2014 from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. The purpose of the fair is to provide parents with young children a one-stop shop opportunity for information on early childhood education programs offered in our community (headstart/daycare/preschools- private and public). Guest speakers from early intervention programs in our area, such as Building Stronger Families, Childcare Aware, First Steps, and H.A.N.D.S. will be in the Public Lounge throughout the program. We are anticipating 16 venders for the event.  For more information, contact Christine Gish at the Daviess County Public Library 270-684-0211.

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