Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Resource Spotlight: Leading to Reading
Leading to Reading is a newly launched website from the non-profit Reading Is Fundamental organization. This website is intended for caregivers and parents of babies, toddlers and preschoolers and is developed to promote and enhance early literacy skills. The interface is easy to navigate, bright and simple. When you're navigating the website, mousing over a section has a verbal cue read aloud as well as the text label. For example, when you pass over the Babies and Toddlers section, the website says "babies and toddlers". The website also has the capability of being displayed in Spanish. There are three main sections - Babies and Toddlers (0-2), Preschoolers (3-5), and Parents.
The Babies and Toddlers section contains finger plays, nursery rhymes, games and stories. The finger plays provide a short video clip to demonstrate the song - some are old favorites and some are new gems. The stories are audio readings of actual picture books such as The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats and the illustrations are displayed as the book is read aloud. The nursery rhymes include the written text as well as an audio reading. And the games such as matching picture pairs are simple for early computer experiences for very young children.
The Preschoolers page is laid out similarly to the Babies and Toddlers page. The sections include "Read", "Sing", "Play", "Doodle" and "Explore". You can also meet Leading to Reading's hosts, Riffy and Rita. The games are age-appropriate and encourage literacy skills as well as beginner computer/mouse skills for young learners. All of the sing-a-long songs have both the audio and the visual text. The stories are read aloud and include the text. There is enough content here for preschoolers to visit multiple times and explore.
The page for Parents is still partially under construction, but it includes additional articles, author interviews, activity ideas, resources and videos. All are quick reads and easy to access.
And what's great about Leading to Reading is that there are no advertisements and the activities are all linked specifically to developing literacy. This is not a jazzy, media promoting site - it's simple, straightforward, easy to navigate and developmentally appropriate for the young child audience. Additionally, a lot of the activities require or encourage a grown-up to participate making this a time to spend together with your child. Enjoy!