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Empowering Parents of Preschoolers with the Nemours Preschool Reading Screener

Reach Out and Read partners, Nemours BrightStart! have released the 2nd Annual Reading Readiness Snapshot for America's Preschoolers - a guest blog post from Laura Bailet and Kathy Ingram at Nemours BrightStart! 

Nemours logoLearning to read is a challenging task for the brain, and one of the most important developmental tasks facing young children.  Only about a third of U. S. students score as 'proficient' readers (Nation's Report Card, 2016). In response to overwhelming evidence that the foundation for successful reading is built in the early years, when a young child's brain is highly responsive, adaptable and attuned to learning language, the Nemours Children's Health System has created Nemours BrightStart to research, develop and offer evidence-based tools targeting young children at risk for reading failure. One of our tools, the Nemours online Preschool Reading Screener, is an effective, free screener that is widely available and easy to complete, to identify children in need of assistance early.

For children between birth and five years, developmental screening is often the domain of pediatricians, as part of routine developmental surveillance (Halfon et al., 2004).  However, even with well-established guidelines and reliable tools, nearly half of all children fail to receive recommended screening (Halfon et al., 2004; Sand et al., 2005). For children with subtle developmental problems, such as reading readiness delays, 70 percent or more may go undetected (Glascoe, 2000) with the current system.  Part of the challenge is time constraints for the pediatrician, and lack of an easy and effective screening tool.

Parents often play a central role in developmental screenings of their children.  Research shows that, if questions are clearly stated, they are able to respond accurately (Dewey, Crawford, & Kaplan, 2003; Fenson et al., 1994; Glascoe, 2000).  Studies also show that parental self-efficacy and parenting competence are positively correlated when parenting knowledge is high (Bornstein et al., 2010).  Yet parents' specific knowledge of key normal developmental indicators and milestones in the preschool years is low (Bornstein et al., 2010).

Nemours BrightStart!Completion of a straightforward screener thus may serve simultaneously to increase parents' knowledge, promote greater intentionality with early literacy activities at home, and improve future reading outcomes.  The Nemours' Preschool Reading Screener  is designed for this purpose.  It contains 31 questions organized into key reading readiness skills including oral language, letter knowledge, phonological awareness, and beginning writing.  Parents receive a rating of their child's skill levels and an action plan. Thousands of parents of 3-, 4- and 5-year old children have completed the screener and a summary of their results can be found in the 2nd Annual Reading Readiness Snapshot for America's Preschoolers released this week. The Snapshot reports:

Snapshot image

Out of a maximum possible 31 points, the average score for 3-year olds is 18; for 4-year olds, 23; and for 5-year olds, 26.  Not surprising, 3-year olds earn most of their points on oral language items and also have some beginning knowledge of rhyming and beginning sounds.  For 4-year olds, the emergence of letter knowledge is especially striking; nearly 68% of them are able to identify at least 18 upper case letters, a skill that is vital for being on track for reading success as they move into kindergarten.  More than 90% of 5-year olds demonstrate strong letter naming skills, and skill with letter sounds and with rhyming are also strong.  Blending words is easier for 5-year olds than breaking them apart.

The Snapshot shows how preschoolers are actually doing in reading readiness, according to the people who know them best: their parents.  With reasonable efforts to expose young children to books, language, drawing and writing, they will develop a solid foundation for future reading success.  Screening for early literacy skills can be empowering and motivating for parents; they want to know early if their child is on track with reading readiness skills, or may need increased home literacy activities and book reading opportunities.  It also helps parents understand connections between oral language, reading and writing, which in turn helps them offer a broader array of experiences, woven into their daily routines, that ultimately support reading development.

References

Bornstein, M. H., Cote, L. R., Haynes, O. M., Hahn, C., & Park, Y. (2010). Parenting knowledge: Experiential and sociodemographic factors in European American mothers of young children.Developmental Psychology, 46(6), 1677-1693.

Dewey, D., Crawford, S. G., & Kaplan, B. J. (2003). Clinical importance of parent ratings of everyday cognitive abilities in children with learning and attention problems.Journal of Learning Disabilities, 36(1), 87-95.

Fenson, L., Dale, P. S., Reznick, S., Bates, E., Thal, D. J., Pethick, S. J., . . . Stiles, J. (1994). Variability in communicative development.Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 59(5), 1-185.

Glascoe, F. P. (2000).  Early detection of developmental and behavioral problems. Pediatrics in Review, 21(8), 272-280.

Halfon, N., Regalado, H. S., Inkelas, M., Peck Reuland, C. H.,Glascoe, F. P., & Olson, L. M. (2004). Assessing development in the pediatric office.Pediatrics, 113(6), 1926-1933.

Nation's Report Card. (n.d.).2015 mathematics and reading assessments. Retrieved July 21, 2016, from http://www.nationsreportcard.gov/reading_math_2015/#reading?grade=4

Sand, N., Silverstein, M., Glascoe, F. P., Gupta, V. B., Tonniges, T. P., & O'Connor, K. G. (2005). Pediatricians' reported practices regarding developmental screening: Do guidelines work? Do they help?Pediatrics, 116(1), 174-179.

 

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Written by Kathy Ingram, Laura Bailet at 14:30

Brush, Book, Bed - The Best Bedtime Routine

Reach Out and Read is partnering with the American Academy of Pediatrics to introduce the Brush, Book, Bed program
Written by Michelle Steffen, MD, FAAP; Lauren Barone, MPH at 14:30

Picking the Best First Book

A guest blog from Dr. Dipesh Navsaria, a U.S. pediatrician who participates in the national early literacy program Reach Out and Read and understands the importance of reading aloud to children of all ages.


After recognizing that reading to your child is one of the first brain-building activities to start routinely doing with your child, the next question is: which book?  Not all children's books are created the same: some are not very good at all, and others are mere vehicles for marketing to you and your children.  Yet the array of choices available at any public library or bookstore can be dizzying and bewildering.  How to choose?

 

When it comes to finding good books, your best bet is to make use of your expert local resources: your public librarian is usually well-versed in high-quality children's books for a variety of ages, cultures and interests.  They are more than happy to field your enquiries; not only can they recommend books in their collection, they can obtain books for you via interlibrary loan or even purchase them based on your requests!

 

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If you're looking to select books yourself, the most important question to ask is: "Does the book interest you?"  If the adult reading the book finds it interesting and engaging, there's a high likelihood the baby or child will as well.  Also, if the reader truly enjoys the book, he or she is more likely to read it with the kind of enthusiasm and expression that will in turn engage the baby or child listener.

 

Next, look at the images in the book; are they interesting and engaging?  This may range from beautiful artwork to complex images inviting the reader to linger over them to things inherently interesting to young children (e.g. baby faces, animals, etc).  As a child becomes older (after about age 2 years), does the text connect to images in a way that encourages language?  For example, does reading the story reference items in the images like colors or other features that build vocabulary and help a child develop skills in naming?

 

For some families, it can be important to find at least a few books in which the children look somewhat like themselves, celebrate similar holidays, speak the same languages, or eat similar foods.  I remember the joy with which my son pointed to a photograph of a little girl in a book of nursery rhymes and said it looked like his sister.  This is not a requirement, but children do deserve and delight to see other children with some aspects of their lives similar to their own.

 

Developmentally speaking, is the book's format appropriate?  Board books are designed for young children who do not yet have a "pincer" grasp developed - that pincer grasp is necessary to turn paper pages.

 

Finally, while these are good general principles to keep in mind, one never knows what books will take hold of a child's interest.  Sometimes the most unlikely-seeming choices will enrapture-and that's absolutely fine!

 

"We are not wise enough, we adults, to know what books will be right for any child at any particular moment, but the richer the book, the more imaginative, the more emotionally true, the more beautiful the language, the better the chance it will minister to a child's deep inarticulate fears."

                                    - Katherine Paterson, writing in The Horn Book, Jan/Feb 1991

 

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Written by Dr. Dipesh Navsaria at 08:15

How to Be Your Baby's First Teacher

Talk, Read and Sing to Your Baby from the Very First Day
Written by Dr. Amy Emerson, Pediatrician, Tulsa, Oklahoma at 15:05

Congress Recognizes the Importance of Pediatric Early Literacy Programs

ESSA AnnouncementWe're thrilled at the overwhelming bipartisan support for a bill that recognizes the importance of pediatric early literacy promotion. President Obama has just signed into law the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, titled the Every Student Succeeds Act (S. 1177), that seeks to ensure the provision of a quality education for all children.

Significantly, this bill authorizes the Reach Out and Read model in federal education policy for the first time. In signing the bill, President Obama talked about expanding access to early childhood education as one of its three aims. Increasingly, research shows that the foundation children need to succeed in school and beyond is built in the early years, from infancy. We are pleased that Reach Out and Read has been recognized as a leader in the field of early learning, and that our model, reaching families with young children through pediatric care, is recognized in this important legislation.

Inclusion of pediatric early literacy promotion in this act is fully consistent with the American Academy of Pediatrics' policy statement, published in 2014, recommending that pediatricians incorporate book promotion and literacy guidance as an essential element of pediatrics starting in infancy.

We have received amazing, bipartisan support on our journey to this point:  we are grateful to U.S. Senators Jack Reed (D-RI) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA), who have tirelessly supported early literacy services for children, and have been the leading advocates in the Senate for Reach Out and Read for over 15 years; to U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern (D- MA-02), who has championed Reach Out and Read in the House for well over a decade; and to Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Representative Katherine Clark (D-MA-05), who were instrumental in ensuring support for pediatric early literacy intervention in the Every Student Succeeds Act in their roles on the education committees.

"Literacy is the foundation for learning. Developing and building these skills begins at home, with parents as the first teachers…..This initiative empowers parents to help their kids, and provides them with free books to get started." 

--Senator Jack Reed.

We believe that this act will bring us closer to our vision of a day when all children will know what it's like to explore a book in the arms of someone who loves them!

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