A writer inspired by nature and human nature


Early last winter, I discovered that one of my author friends regularly metamorphoses into “Blossom the Butterfly” to share her love of reading with pre-school and elementary school children. I asked Pamela to share her story. Opportunities abound for all of us! ~ Bette A. Stevens

CHILDHOOD LITERACY: Sharing the love of reading

Guest post by author Pamela Beckford

IMG_2405How did I get so involved in childhood literacy? I’ve asked myself that question dozens of times. I’m not a teacher, nor did I ever have any aspirations of being a teacher. I’m not a librarian, nor did I ever have any desire to be a librarian. But I am an avid reader myself and I have seen how much reading means to me personally.

I have the world’s best job as CEO of a local United Way. We have a goal of making sure that 90% of all children in our county are ready for kindergarten by 2020. I really didn’t think that was an unattainable goal. In fact, I thought we were probably pretty close to that number already. But, as it turns out, we have our work cut out for us.

One of the reasons is that parents can’t keep up with the changes in our education system. I don’t know how many times I have heard parents say “but that isn’t the way it was when I was in school.” And keep in mind, that these are the youngest parents too. Kindergarten is not what it was even five years ago, let alone what it was like 20 years ago.

I have read study after study about early literacy. They all show the value of reading to children as early as birth (some say before birth). Children need to see parents reading; they need to feel a connection with their parents and their voice. Picture books are one of my favorite genre. I love the rich cadence of many of the books, as well as the beautiful illustrations. There is no doubt in my mind of the importance of talking to and reading to your children.

As part of our Early Childhood Initiative, we developed a new website to serve as a resource for parents. I know that life happens. We get busy with the day-to-day things, work, maintaining a house, etc. Sometimes we just need to be reminded to spend a few minutes reading to your child and why it is important. We always think we can do that tomorrow, but tomorrow never seems to come. The website (90by20.com or childrenreadytolearn.com) is a work in progress and will be continually updated and changed.

PAMELA Blossom & the kidsOne of the other important things we have done is create a reading mascot—her name is Blossom the Book Butterfly. Blossom (me) reads for children every chance she gets; she participates in activities in the schools and child care program; she even had a book written about her that will be distributed to all the new mothers in the county. But Blossom isn’t the only one who reads to children—ALL adults should find a way of volunteering their time with their children/grandchildren/schools/preschools, etc. It only takes a few minutes to read a book to a child and yet its impact is life long.

One of the things I am most excited about though is having Blossom read Indie-authored children books on YouTube videos. This has been a project that has taken much more time than I thought it would but I think it will be a great resource for children and parents. Plus it will promote books from indie authors. I haven’t pursued traditionally published books for this because of the difficulty of getting the video rights, but indie authors have been eager to have their books showcased. Watch for the section on the website in the next couple of months—and if you are a children’s author and would like to allow me to use your books, please contact me.

There are so many other aspects of what we are doing to encourage early literacy—you can see most of them if you look through the website.

I fear I may have gone on too long but this is one of my favorite subjects and I could talk about it all day. Thank you for the opportunity to share our efforts in early childhood literacy.

FIND OUT MORE

VISIT PAMELA BECKFORD

(BETTE’S BLOG)

Comments on: "INSPIRING EARLY READERS: Author on a Mission" (34)

  1. I love that Pamela dresses up as a butterfly to read to the kids, what a great way to motivate and inspire their imaginations. Great work, keep it up. 🙂

  2. Reblogged this on Sandra Bennett – Author and commented:
    Pamela Beckford dresses up as a brightly coloured butterfly to inspire kids as she reads to them throughout her local community. She is encouraging early literacy in an unusual yet simple way. It would be lovely to see more parents and grandparents take up the gauntlet and spare just a few minutes a week to read to students at schools and preschools. Maybe then we would help teachers increase our students literacy skills.

    • Hi, Sandra. Thanks so much for spreading the word! Kids need us and teachers do too. As a retired teacher, I love visiting my local schools and library to read a favorite with the kids. Pamela is glowing and the kids are entranced… HAPPY WRITING & READING! 🙂

  3. Such a beautiful post! Pamela Beckford looks so dynamic with the children. I love this idea, and the fact that children can develop these listening skills at such early age is essential.

    • Reading with kids anywhere is definitely a win-win! So many opportunities to share the love of reading. Thanks for joining the conversation, Maria! 🙂

  4. Reading this gave me so many more reasons to love Pamela… Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    • Pamela’s love of reading and her love of children gives us all a reason to catch her enthusiasm and get out there and READ TO THE KIDS! Thanks for adding to the chat, Nicholas. 🙂

  5. Thank you for the opportunity to share my story and my love of reading to children. We can all do this and my dream would be that every adult would find a child or children to read with.

    • Dearest Pamela,

      It’s been wonderful to have you as a guest, sharing our passion of reading with kids and encouraging our friends to join in and make our dream come true!

      You’re the best, ‘Blossom’!

      HAPPY READING with the kids… ❤ Bette

  6. You’ve reminded me of a plan I had to read to children at the library when I retired from teaching English to senior high school students. I saw first-hand the impact of early childhood reading versus no early childhood reading. Studies have been done to show that this reading (and creation of pictures in young minds) helps develop analytical thinking which is a skill we use across the board. Reading is not just about pleasant stories then but about developing thinking skills in children. Can we really afford not to encourage it? A big thank you to Blossom the Butterfly!

    • Reading with kids really is FUN-damental, Elaine. Pamela inspires us to get out there and read away… There are so many kids who have no one to read to them or with them at home. The more literary interaction we can provide for all children, the better our world will be. Thank you for stopping by to chat up the importance of reading with kids! 🙂

  7. What a wonderfully inspiring lady! She is helping to give these children the gift of life – and I know her satisfaction will come from seeing their eager minds taking in every word.

  8. Reblogged this on readful things blog and commented:
    An awesome post about early literacy, check it out

  9. This is such an awesome program. I love it when people with some influence understand the full power of early literacy and love of reading. Fantastic.

  10. Wonderfully creative, and wouldn’t you just like to dress up at a butterfly!

  11. What a delightful interview with a fantastic lady!! It’s wonderful to be able to make progressive changes in the lives of young readers and have such fun doing it. When my first children’s book comes out in a few weeks, I’ll be happy to donate a few copies to this cause if the age line is right for them.

    • Oh, Micki! You’re awesome,
      just like Pamela (our Blossom)!
      CONGRATS ON YOUR UPCOMING DEBUT children’s book… Can’t wait to read it and I know Pamela will be delighted to share too! By, the way, thanks for reminding me, I need to get some copies of my books out to her too. HUGS ❤

  12. Wow! How wonderful that Pamela dresses as a butterfly. I’m sure the children love that as much as her readings.

    • Blossom is just awesome! I’m sure the kids can’t wait to find out what wonderful books she’ll be reading next. Pamela and the students are an inspiration to all of us to get out there and read with the kids. HAPPY READING with all of the kids in your life, Michelle! ❤

  13. How cool is this! Kudos Pamela. Thanks for sharing this.

  14. Bette, I’m delighted to find your blog with such exciting content. I shall follow you with interest and you will inspire me to do something with some of my children’s books that sit unattended… I love your idea of making videos too. Thank you for your follow.

    • Hi, BK. Thanks so much for stopping by to join the conversation. Kids need great books and enthusiastic adults to instill them with a love of reading. Can’t wait to find out about your books! 🙂

  15. Thank you for all you do for youngsters and indie writers, Pamela! Way to go!

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