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61: Early Literacy Pack--ELP


Early Literacy Pack


that might accompany books to help start the literacy process.

Typically, "early" suggests young children. 
But teenagers and adults who have never learned to read properly
are stuck, we can say, in early literacy.
The question, in all cases, is:
how do we speed things up?
Two very different situations
prompted this question.
First of all, Whole Word, in all of its names and manifestations,
is best understood as an anti-literacy campaign.
Simply to explain the alphabet to its victims
would be a great example of how to speed things up.
What are others?
Second, many groups give books to poor families--
but often with little additional assistance.
What materials could accompany those books?

(It is not enough to put books in a home
if the people there are not used to books, don’t read well,
are trying to hide their own limitations, 
and/or don’t know how to explain things to children.)


Here's a suggested ELP
for distribution to poorer families.
Note: this is a work in progress. 

These additional items -- together they would cost a dollar or two--
will empower semi-literate parents.
They will feel that they are competent to teach their children to read.
(Also, parents can teach themselves to read
without admitting that they need help in this regard.)

For example, on a laminated place mat.
Bold, colorful, suitable for the
youngest children, ages 2-4.
Most important item.
Several designs available on internet.
Order in volume to have
best price. (A large company might
sponsor this to have name on mat.)
2. The ALPHABET SONG on CD or video link. Slow version for ages 2-4. 
A good example is shown below;
or visit 
3. SIDE-BY-SIDE READING. A  video (or still photograph) showing a parent and child sitting side-by-side, holding a book jointly, smiling, 
staring at text. (If it’s a video, we see the mother pointing to features on the page: “This is a period ...the next sentence starts with a capital letter.”  The emphasis should be on sharing literary pleasure. Parent should be told: do not read to your child, read WITH your child.)
4. BOUNCING BALL STORY. A video that narrates a much-loved poem or story, with a bouncing ball and the words highlighted (also known as the Karaoke approach). The bouncing ball instantly teaches the mechanics of the English language, that it moves left to right, that words have syllables, etc. See examples on: The Bouncing Ball Project, which is part of the ELP initiative.
5. JOKES, RHYMES, CHEERS, AND SLOGANS. Another laminated sheet, video or small booklet could list a few dozen of the most popular knock-knock jokes, couplets, nursery rhymes, cheers, anything that children might find entertaining enough to repeat or memorize. (This material could be printed on the back of the laminated place mat discussed in first item.)

6. A IS FOR APPLE, B IS FOR BOY. Again, a laminated place mat can work; or a short video. If it’s a video, the narrator should say, “A is for Apple.... aaaa-ple,” to show the pronunciation of the letters. (See "Phonics Song 2" below.)

7.  SOUNDS AND BLENDS. A further video could illustrate the pronunciation of various letters and more common pairs of letters, the blends. (See example below.)



Suggest improvements for any part of this program.

Use these ideas; or make your own tools.

The best tools/ideas are cheap and self-explanatory. 

We want things that will work in unfriendly terrain,

like a rover on the surface of the moon.

The perfect tools could be sent to a foreign country and

people would figure out English. Or to a prison and

illiterates would learn to read.

ELP is part of this site's broader concern for efficiency,

for ergonomics, for doing what actually works. 

Related article on this site is:

"54: Preemptive Reading." 



Here's a second version of The Alphabet Song. 
There are many good versions on YouTube.
Recommend: use one for a few weeks, then try another.
Discuss the differences. Find out which one a child likes--
and why--and come back to it often.  



I marvel at this. Seems to be an ELP ideal. Covers everything clearly, colorfully, and quickly. If you know of a better one. please send it in.

We always hear that children love repetition. So wait for a response and then play it as often as the child seems to like it. At some point the child will start saying or singing along. Then they've got it.









'ELP--the great Beatles song could be about reading.
"'elp me get my feet back on the ground!" 

Open Up The Door

© Bruce Deitrick Price 2012

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