Library notes: Children can become literate in more than one way
By Erika Kosin
Rowan Public Library
When libraries talk about literacy, they usually refer to the ability to read or to “information literacy,” which is the ability to find, interpret and use information.
Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary, second edition, defines “literacy” as “the quality or state of being literate especially the ability to read and write; possession of education; person’s knowledge of a particular subject or field.”
In order to be “literate” in any discipline, one must start with the basics. For example, one must learn to count before he or she can add, and one must learn the alphabet before he or she can read.
There are many ways to promote literacy skills in children, not just teaching reading and writing, but also teaching colors and counting.
Libraries try to provide the basic skills of information literacy to children through various programs and events. Some libraries across the country are even offering programs that include board games or video game programs for children and especially for teens.
People may not have realized that when they played board games as a child, they were learning and reinforcing the basic skills necessary for literacy. They were learning to recognize numbers and add by rolling the dice. They were learning how to manage money and develop the art of reasoning and negotiation while playing Monopoly. Knowledge of colors and numbers were being reinforced by playing games like Chutes and Ladders or Candy Land. Board games also allow children to socially interact with other children or members of their own family in a fun, productive way.
Games like Risk helped teach basic military strategies while reinforcing knowledge of geography. Chess and checkers help children develop the ability to think and try to anticipate their opponent’s thoughts.
Many adults can find the benefits of playing some of these board games with children in the beginning stages of learning, but how do these games compare to their computer counterparts? What can the benefit be to playing video games such as Guitar Hero or Final Fantasy?
Well, some of these games contain a lot of reading. Players have to follow the instructions and interpret the clues if they want to advance to the next level. Some kids even go as far as finding books with cheat codes so they can advance to further aspects of the game more quickly. Games like Guitar Hero and Rock Band help develop hand- eye coordination as it reinforces colors, counting and rhythms, all skills needed for the basics of literacy in many fields and disciplines.
While games do provide benefits for children in developing their literacy skills, moderation is always a good rule of thumb. Too much of anything could be detrimental but a healthy balance of board games, video games, reading and outdoor play can help develop well-rounded children who are on their way to becoming a part of a literate society. It also provides an opportunity for families and friends to spend some quality time together.Computer classes: Classes are free. Sessions are 90 minutes long. Class size is limited and on a first-come, first-served basis. Dates and times are subject to change without notice.
Headquarters ó Monday, 7 p.m., Excel: Beyond the Basics; Thursday, 2:30 p.m., Safe Internet Surfing.
Tuesday Night at the Movies: All movies are at 6:30 p.m. All movies are rated G, PG or PG 13; some movies are inappropriate for younger audiences. Children should be accompanied by an adult. Free popcorn and lemonade.
Recent releases will be featured in August.
Tuesday, “Push” with Dakota Fleming; Aug. 25, “Slumdog Millionaire,” rated R. No one under 18 admitted without parent.
Displays: Headquarters ó wood art by Howard Reinhardt and N.C. Rowan County Anime Group by Robert Allen; South ó lunch box collection by Sharon Ross. East ó wood artist Stephen Martin.Literacy: Call the Rowan County Literacy Council at 704-216-8266 for more information on teaching or receiving literacy tutoring for English speakers or for those for whom English is a second language.