The Early Literacy Readiness Project (ELRP)
The Early Literacy Readiness Project (ELRP) provides educational and developmental opportunities for preschool and kindergarten children while supporting learning activities for their parents and teachers. Since 2004, Flights of Fantasy Story Theater has provided the ELRP to multiple Head Start and preschool facilities in Los Angeles County. The Early Literacy Readiness Project provides storytime readings, story theater performances, Professional Development and Family Engagement Workshops that prepare children for success in school and contributes significantly to lifelong reading and thinking skills. According to the National Center for Family Literacy “research shows that literacy is at the root of a child’s ability to succeed, and family plays a major role in such success.” Research also shows that children who participate in quality preschool programs demonstrate earlier development of language, literacy, and mathematical skills regardless of ethnic or socio-economic background. Studies supporting these findings prove that children who have rich and varied language experiences, especially if they are second language learners, have an easier time mastering reading and comprehending information.
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Benefits of Combined Activities
- more likely to graduate from high school
- more likely to be employed
- more likely to lead healthy, productive lives
- less likely to need public assistance
- less likely to become involved in criminal activities
Storytimes occur once a week for eight consecutive weeks. Each storytime presents four to five picture books and includes fingerplays and songs. Puppets and flannel boards may also be used. A safe and accepting atmosphere is created that is conducive to learning, participation and discussion. A quality picture book will be given to each child at the conclusion of the eight weeks.
Benefits of Storytimes for Children
- exposure to multi-cultural stories and rhymes
- development of oral language skills
- learning that language communicates meaning
- understanding that vocabulary enhances expression
- development of print awareness and pre-reading skills
- improvement of listening skills and attention spans
Children are introduced to new literature through the art of theater and exposed to an alternative way of enjoying stories. Each 30-minute interactive story theater presentation is lively, colorful and includes multi-cultural stories and rhymes. Costumes, props and a portable set create a vibrant atmosphere for the shows that invite participation.
Benefits of Theater Presentations for Children
- children learn to synthesize information aurally and through visual cues
- children make connections between concepts, words and actions
- theater presentations demonstrate another way to enjoy literature
- children learn to be good listeners and audience member
- children develop an appreciation for live theater performances
The Family Engagement Workshop focuses on the importance of parental involvement as the child’s ‘first teacher.’ Making daily storytimes a habit is discussed and examples of reading material and reading techniques are demonstrated. Parents learn how to ‘play’ and use their voices and facial expressions in engaging ways as they read or relate a story. Each family will receive a quality picture book to take home to build their home library.
Benefits of the Parent Read Aloud Workshop
- parents see the positive effect of daily storytimes and a special bond is created
- parents realize they are their child’s first teacher and their involvement in their child’s
education is vital for success
- parents build their child’s vocabulary, experiential knowledge and creativity
- techniques are modeled to demonstrate a variety of reading methods
- an appreciation of literature and reading is strengthened
During the eight week storytimes, the teachers will observe the methods the readers use to engage and entertain the students. Sometime within that period, according to the school schedule availability, the teachers will meet with the reader and discuss the techniques used, why they were successful and how they can be implemented in the classrooms on a daily basis.
Benefits of the Professional Development Workshop:
- techniques are modeled so that teachers can provide more engaging storytimes
- students will respond better and learn more during their storytimes
- teachers gain more confidence in themselves as storytime readers
- teachers can support parents better in their efforts to have daily storytimes at home