The goal of the Cruise into Kindergarten program is to increase awareness of the importance of early learning in all communities in Pennsylvania through the collaboration of libraries and other state and local agencies involved with early learning. We are partners with the United Way in the 1000 books before Kindergarten program and we provide outreach programs to several local preschools.
The role of libraries in the Cruise into Kindergarten program is two-fold: providing early learning support to parents, care providers, and early childhood educators and improving the school readiness practices of adults who provide services and/or care for young children.
Each of our Cruise into Kindergarten workshops is intended to expose children to a variety of experiences to build on each these skills in different ways: vocabulary skills, narrative skills, print awareness, phonetic awareness, and print recognition.
Vocabulary skills refer to knowing the meanings of words. Children need many opportunities to build vocabulary knowledge before starting school. Reading stories and holding conversations with young children increases the number of words they will understand use correctly.
Narrative skills refer to a child’s ability to describe things, talk about events, and tell stories. Conversations with adults, particularly about books, builds narrative skills. During our 2 story times, the reader prompts the children to predict what will come next, to use picture clues, and for the order of events that took place in the story.
Children who have print awareness know how to hold a book right side up and turn the pages one at a time. They learn print recognition when they realize that letters are different from each other and represent sound. They learn that the print is what you are reading and that print has meaning. Often times our story readers will use over-size books to point out words and letters and have the children “read” along with them.
Phonological awareness refers to being able to hear and play with the sounds in words. This is an important step toward being ready to learn to read. Rhymes, songs, and books with repeated phrases help build phonological awareness.
This combination of skills builds motivation to learn to read and then using reading to learn.
Our Little Cruisers workshops focus on educating the parent with strategies to expose their children to early literacy. A rich literacy environment from the birth to five years can set a child on the path for success in school and beyond.