Every Child Ready to Read: 1st Edition VS. 2nd Edition

As an aside in her response to this week’s Ask a Storytime Ninja question, Kiera mentioned that she would love to see a discussion of ECRR vs. ECRR2 here on Storytime Underground. We thought that was a GREAT idea!

So, to get you started, here was her initial thought on the topic. “My opinion is that the second edition is way better for communicating to parents and caregivers, but that the first edition is a better overall early literacy education for librarians.”

What do YOU think?

Please share your thoughts in the comments. We want to hear from everyone!


More brain ticklers/questions to help the discussion along:

Do you use either or both ECRR in your library? Why or why not?

Do you prefer one edition over the other? Why?

If YOU could design an ECRR what would it look like?

Have you seen the ning? It’s awesome. That’s not a discussion question, just an aside.  Unless you want to discuss it. That would be great, too.


About Kendra

Children's Librarian in the Northwest. Lover of toddlers, twitter, and TV (T's, too, apparently!).

Posted on August 8, 2013, in Ask a Storytime Ninja and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. We do use ECRR2 in our library now and used ECRR when it came out. Personally, I prefer the 2nd for explaining concepts to the parents/caregivers. While I think that it is important for children’s librarians to be familiar with the concepts of the first ECRR, it is too jargon-based and we are trying to reach everybody. After all, what average person on the street knows what phonological awareness is? Now if you asked that same person what talking was, they could answer. I think of the first ECRR as one more thing for us to know, similar to a child’s development schedule.

    Also, while we use ECRR2, it doesn’t define all that we do. It is one more tool that we use when explaining why what we do is important and why we do what we do. It is really good for explaining why we choose the books that we do for our programs and when we model activities for parents. On the other hand, we throw in other tools too. Thinking of counting down rhymes that are popular. While they do include the singing skill (rhymes and singing are really close together), we are also working on number literacy and early math skills. Plus, we don’t want to discount the importance of fun. It is fun to come to the library! We want these kids to choose to come back as they grow up and can make their own decisions.

  2. LOVE this conversation! I completely agree with the point made by Kiera: ECRR 1 is more for professionals/ECRR2 is easier for parents. Having said that, though, I still like to use some of the terminology from #1 with parents and just explain it simply and briefly — much like I would a new vocabulary word from a picture book to the children. For example, “phonological awareness is simply paying attention to the smaller parts of words, such as rhyming the ending sounds or clapping out the syllables.” I don’t want to shortchange the parents by assuming that they can’t handle the names of the actual skills.

    The way I set up my handouts is to have the practices of Read, Write, Sing, Play and Talk as headers with the activities we’re doing under each one (and, yes, of course there is overlap). But I will also point out the skills as asides during the storytime and try to feature 1 skill during each of my six sessions of my Ready to Read storytime.

    I also like how ECRR 2 includes math, science, art, etc.

    I’ve been lucky enough to attend 2 workshops with Saroj Ghoting (on ECRR 1 and ECRR 2) and highly recommend her as a resource!

    Can’t wait to hear what others have to say or are doing!

  3. I use both when planning storytimes, but use the ECRR 2 for all of the handouts/tips I give to caregivers. I started doing an early literacy “take storytime home” calendar after Amy Koester posted about her success with it, and my patrons appreciate ideas that correlate to the basic ECRR 2 practices. To throw a wrench in the works, I’m an early adopter of the Very Ready Reading baby program from Upstart which has a “7 Days, 7 Ways” approach. It’s a bit more specific as far as what parents can share with their children, but it’s simply a curriculum for librarians mostly based on the principles of ECRR 1 and 2. I’ll continue using bits and pieces of it for my Baby Time, but the written programs overestimate the amount of time that the babies in my class will sit and pay attention. Keep on doing the good work, folks! 🙂

  4. I think the terminology of the five practices in ECRR2 has really helped make staff training for storytimes more straightforward, and as a result our storytimes are more diverse. By breaking early literacy skills development into the five practices, it’s much simpler to see what sorts of activities/skills storytimes were promoting, and which they weren’t. It’s pretty quick for staff to ask themselves if their storytime plan including talking, reading, writing, singing, and playing in some combination. That quick checklist also gives them immediate feedback on how to round out a storytime program: not much writing in the plan? maybe a coloring activity is in store.

  5. missmaryliberry

    I like ECRR for the research and as a basic foundation (and the 5 practices are a GREAT easy way to help parents remember what they can do at home), but I don’t personally use their canned presentations as I don’t think they’re particularly engaging. I make up my own, with lots of activities and stories. But ECRR has been a great jumping off point for us, and informs what we do.

  6. I was working for Phoenix Public Library when the first ECRR came out I translatated much of the content in Spanish and worked with Saroj, in hind sight it was too wordy and the scripts too rigid. Our communities (Latino, Cambodian, Korean, Islanders) we need to move, interact, share, sing, dance and ECRR2 allows you to have more flexibility. I think the talking points do a much better job and we use some of the games from ECRR1 like say it fast say it slow, we also have created our own games.

  7. Great topic, great conversation! The Ohio Ready to Read team has put a lot of thought into how to use ECRR1 & ECRR2 together: http://ohelcrosswalk.wikispaces.com/Every+Child+Ready+to+Read+Second+Edition+Crosswalk

  8. ECRR 2 is a great starting point for discussing early literacy with parents. I love it because it shows parents that they are already doing great and wonderful things with their young ones that help increase their literacy skills and development for the future. The 5 keywords/practices are also easy to remember off the top of a parent’s head when they are engaging with their child. Our role as librarian is to give them tips to bring home (“Include foam letters as part of your babies toys,” “Narrate your day”, “Put down a book if your child doesn’t want to read it, and come back to it later”, etc.).

    Something that is oftentimes left out of this discussion is that the presence of ECRR 1 language is in ECRR 2. These are grouped into constrained and unconstrained skills. Constrained skills (ie. decoding print) have a definite ending point when learning them, including print awareness, letter knowledge, and phonological awareness. Unconstrained skills include vocabulary and comprehension and are learned throughout our lifetime. Both are needed in early literacy practices and are used when playing, singing, reading, writing, and talking.

  9. I love this discussion, thank you everyone! Like many of us, I agree that thinking of ECRR1 as training for staff and ECRR2 as language for parents is a workable place to start, as long as the ECRR1 *concepts* still come through with our ECRR2 messages. (Librarybonanza and Kary have touched on this too.) I also think it’s important that the reasons why we are talking about skills and practices come through with both.

    That rationale piece is super important to me. We are all bombarded with messages about what we should do or not do, whether we are parents or not: “Eat organic food” “Exercise 20 minutes a day,” “Get 8 hours of sleep,” “Don’t spend too much time on social media.” I know it’s easier for me to make the effort to incorporate such advice into my life when I know why I’m supposed to do it, and even how it has that effect. It’s the difference between “Don’t use screens before bed,” and “Don’t use screens before bed because you won’t sleep as well,” and “Don’t use screens before bed because you won’t sleep as well since the light stimulates your brain and makes your body think it’s morning.”

    I think a lot of parents are the same way. It’s one thing to say, “Hey, talking with your child helps her get ready to read!” It’s another to say, “Talking with your child helps her get ready to read, because it really increases her vocabulary,” or even “Talking with your child helps her get ready to read because it really increases her vocabulary, and kids have an easier time reading words that they already know.”

    I understand that parents and caregivers are busy and distracted and simple messages are great, but ultimately I think our job in the libraries is not to just tell people what to do, but to help them to a deeper understanding. (Like we don’t say, “Don’t use Google for that,” but “Don’t use Google for that because the type of information you’re looking for is in this paid database over here.”)

    Plus, when we give them the “why” we are moving from a more paternalistic role (“Just do what I say, I’m the expert,”) to a more empowering relationship (“I’m going to share this info with you so you can be an expert too.”) Not all parents need or want the “more” –not all patrons need or want every service we offer–but I’d personally rather not get caught up in trying to make judgments about which ones do or don’t. In storytime, I try to provide a robust message, and the ones who want to tune out, can, and the ones who don’t are grateful for the extra information that helps them make informed decisions.

    I love the appealing, understandable way ECRR2 presents what parents can do to make a difference, and it’s revitalized how we present information to both staff and parents!

  10. I forgot to shout out to Janet for posting the Ohio chart–this is exactly the type of information we try to provide our storytime staff, so they can become confident about recognizing where their storytime plans connect to both the 6 skills and the 5 practices. I have bookmarked it already! 🙂

  11. I really like what I’ve seen of ECRR2–like others have said, it’s much easier to explain. However, shortly before it came out, Kansas adopted its own non-jargoned program based on the original, so that’s what we use at my library.

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