Recent research supports an interactive and experiential process of learning spoken and written language skills that begins in early infancy. We now know that children gain significant knowledge of language, reading, and writing long before they enter school. Children learn to talk, read, and write through such social literacy experiences as adults or older children interacting with them using books and other literacy materials, including magazines, markers, and paper. Simply put, early literacy research states that:
- Language, reading and writing skills develop at the same time and are intimately linked.
- Early literacy development is a continuous developmental process that begins in the first years of life.
- Early literacy skills develop in real life settings through positive interactions with literacy materials and other people.
The Museums/Libraries Project of The Race to the Top – Early Learning Challenge grant has created a Massachusetts statewide collection of StoryWalks®® held by the five Early Childhood Resource Center libraries (Cambridge, Haverhill, Norfolk, Falmouth, Springfield) that are funded by the MA Department of Early Education and Care. These StoryWalks® will be available to CFCE’s, museums, and other libraries to borrow and use in their local communities.
A StoryWalk® is a fun, educational activity that places a children’s story (literally a book taken apart) along a popular walking route in your community. You may have seen one placed on posts around the Library, on windows of businesses down Main Street, tied onto the trees and other fixed features in a park, or on the walls down a hallway in a building. Conceived as a way to inspire parents, teachers, and caregivers to take young children out of doors for physical activity and to learn, StoryWalk® helps build children’s interest in reading while encouraging healthy activity for both adults and children.