Mono preschoolers learn literacy skills with First 5

Staff Reports

The First 5 organization was established to promote literacy by providing educational materials to Mono County preschoolers.

California's financial troubles have an effect on education funding so materials are provided to preschools in Coleville, Lee Vining and Mammoth Lakes to help meet state guidelines for instruction. These resources are part of a partnership program called Readers Theatre.

"Strong early literacy skills are crucial for young children to enter kindergarten ready to learn," said Kathy Peterson, executive director of First 5 Mono County. "At a time when many educational resources are being cut, we're helping to give kids a strong foundation to help them succeed in school and in life."

Classroom exercises include group projects to build communication skills and capacity for self-control, as well as reading activities that enhance listening comprehension skills.

The early literacy materials meet preschool learning foundations released by the California Department of Education in January 2008. These guidelines set consistent goals for early instruction and are geared toward helping all children enter kindergarten at the same level of learning ability. First 5 Mono County and Altrusa's efforts help to ensure local children's access to quality learning opportunities despite the state's bleak economic situation.

n Begin reading to children as infants. As your child gets older, gradually increase the amount of time and the complexity of the books read.

n Read to children regularly. Reading aloud helps them learn new concepts and become better listeners.

n Pick books together. Encourage children's interest in books by talking about stories they like and providing books they will enjoy. Foster a love of learning by introducing children to fun books.

n Toddlers love to hear favorite stories again and again and repetition actually helps them learn. Hearing sounds repeatedly allows children to connect words with ideas and build vocabularies.

n Asking children what they like about stories helps them think through situations. These conversations teach children to analyze and form opinions.

n Reading to children may lead them to other activities like drawing, singing or acting out stories. All of these help your child build creative thinking skills important for learning and healthy development.

n Visiting the local library in the early years of life develops life long habits of literacy.

Children not enrolled in participating preschools are invited to the Mammoth Lakes Library for a story time at 10:30 a.m. Feb. 11. For information on building children's literacy skills, contact Shanna White at First 5 Mono County, (760) 924-7626.

California voters passed Proposition 10 in 1998, adding a 50 cents-per-pack tax on cigarettes to support expectant parents and children ages 0 to 5. First 5 Mono County distributes Proposition 10 revenues to programs and services that meet local needs. Information,


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