I'm an advocate for children with learning disabilities and children who aren't comfortable in front of a book. According to a National Institutes of Health study, one in seven people struggle with some kind of learning disability.
Learning disabilities are difficult to discover in young children. However, it is important for us as parents to be aware of the early warning sign of a learning disability. If you are not sure what these warning signs are read this article by Coordinated Campaign for Learning Disabilities.
I was diagnosed with dyslexia in the second grade. I learned to overcome it and your child can too. I'm convinced reading humorous books will help children who have learning disabilities and children who don't learn to love reading!
Have you ever had the chance to read the book Moo! with your kids? My 3 year old, 5 year old, and I love it! The illustrations are amusing, brightly colored, and that cow is just adorable! In two turns of the page, you and your children will relate to the cow and farmer as their interactions parallel that of a parent-child relationship.
Surprisingly, "moo" is the only word in the book, so you'll have to use your voice to distinguish and describe the story. I enjoy asking my boys their interpretation of the story. It's a book they can read. The word "moo" turns into a sight word; which means they see the word, remember what it looks like, and read it. To encourage your child to learn how to read the word moo, or any word, pass your finger under the word as you read it out loud. This book has won a CLEL Bell award for its focus on Early Child Literacy. You and your children are guaranteed to enjoy it.
Peanut Butter and Cupcake is another book my boys and I enjoy! The characters in this book are food. They are photographs of actual, tasty-looking food! One time, after reading this book with my boys, they immediately asked for a snack after we closed the book. That is how appetizing the pictures are in this book.
The story is about a piece of peanut butter toast who is trying to make a new friend. Peanut Butter has to be brave and invite other "kids" to play with him. Not all of the "kids" want to play, but Peanut Butter doesn't give up. Terry Border, the author, chose a nice use of repetition in the story. Soon your child will be reading it along with you. There are a couple of jokes for parents too! I love it when authors do that for the adults! I hope you LOL with your children when you read! Enjoy!
Image credit a4gpa
Saturday, May 2 is Free Comic Book day. On this day participating comic book shops across the country will be giving away comic books to anyone who visits their shop. There are lots of titles to choose from for all ages. Comic books could be the spark that ignites the reading fire for you child. They're great for reluctant readers!
Here is some more information for you and your little superhero:
Dear Babies, Kids, and Caregivers,
You are cordially invited to attend our storytimes at the Golden Community Center.
Miss Sarah and Miss Shannon will be delighted to see your shining faces again on Wednesday mornings for Baby Time at 10:15am, followed by Toddler Time at 11:00am. The Community Center's Open Swim starts at 11:00am on Wednesdays, so you could even follow up those rhymes, stories, dances and bubbles with a splash in the pool or a romp around Lion's Park.
On Saturday mornings at 10:30am, Miss Sarah and Miss Jenny would love to see you at our All Ages storytime! We'll also have stories, dances, rhymes and bubbles, followed by a simple craft or coloring. It doesn't seem like it now, but it's getting warmer and a picnic lunch in the park would be just perfect after practicing our school-readiness - listening, cooperating, and following-instructions - skills at storytime, don't you think?
Storytimes are FREE at the Community Center - if you'd like to stick around for a swim, admission rates vary by age and City of Golden residency status.
We miss your faces! Come see us soon!
Photo credits: flickr ThomasLife & the City of Golden
NARRATIVE SKILLS: describing things and events, telling stories, knowing the order of events, and making predictions
Once Upon a Time...in a far away land, there lived a beautiful princess and her toad, Fred. Fred was no ordinary toad...no, Fred was a magical toad!!! Fred could sing showtunes, and not just one showtune but, any showtune ever sung, and when he sang he danced, and when he danced he wore a tiny tophat upon his head. People would travel far and wide to gaze upon Fred, the magical and musical toad, for just one glimpse of Fred, in his tophat, would bring great joy and happiness. One day an evil witch visited the kingdom to see this magical and musical toad for herself and...
That's how the magic of stories begin, with four little words. It's these four little words along with a multitude of others that encourage our children to explore their creatvity and foster their love of reading.
According to The Colorado Libraries for Early Literacy (CLeL), that's why ECRR (Every Child Ready to Read) highlights NARRATIVE SKILLS as one of their 6 early literacy skills designed to promote early literacy in young children.
Why Is It Important?
When children can describe something or retell stories, it shows that they are comprehending what they are reading. Understanding what they're reading is crucial to helping them stay motivated to keep reading.
What Can You Do to Help Build This Skill?
Ask open-ended questions that encourage conversations rather than yes/no or right/wrong answers.
Talk about your day and its series of events.
Mix up the events in a story; make it silly!
Guess what comes next—or come up with a different ending.
Read stories without words; they really help focus on this skill.
Name objects, feelings, and events.
Now it's your turn to have fun, be creative and start your own story.
Once Upon a Time...
This month, we are celebrating One Book 4 Colorado (OB4CO). The winning title, "How do Dinosaurs get well soon?" or "¿Cómo se curan los dinosaurios?" by Jane Yolen (with awesome illustrations by Mark Teague) was announced on April 13. Have a four year old? Bring your child to the library to pick up a free copy and add the book to your collection at home!
In the spirit of the dino themed book series, I thought it would be fun to share how I have been incorporating dinosaurs into my bilingual storytimes. Reading about dinosaurs is a fabulous way to introduce new vocabulary in English and Spanish.
First off, my puppet, Tommy T-Rex, gets the kids excited. We talk about his sharp teeth or 'dientes afilados' and how they are used to only eat meat or 'carne'. Tommy cracks the kids up as he adamantly describes himself as a meat-eating CAR-NI-VORE or 'carnívoro' and not a plant-eating HER-BI-VORE or 'herbívoro'. Nope, no herbivores here, just a meat loving carnivore. Then, we read the book by Jane Yolen. What is so great about the series is that many of her books have been translated into Spanish, including the more recent title "How do dinosaurs stay safe?" or "¿Cómo se cuidan los dinosaurios?".
I came across a series of bilingual books at the library like this in the 'Español Reader' section:
And I found a Spanish version of a 'Harry and the dinosaurs' book! His name is 'Dani' in the Spanish editions.
Moving and singing are great for learning new words! I came up with 'T-Rex, T-Rex turn around' (instead of Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear) and translated it into Spanish.
T-Rex, T-Rex turn around (da una vuelta)
T-Rex, T-Rex, touch the ground (toca la tierra)
T-Rex, T-Rex, stomp your feet (pisan los pies)
T-Rex, T-Rex, eat some meat (come la carne)
T-Rex, T-Rex, roar with all your might (ruge con todas tus fuerzas)
T-Rex, T-Rex, say goodnight (di buenas noches)!
It can be tough to engage children in learning new things. Ask what they are interested in and go with it. Remember, when it stops being fun, try something else or try again later!
Photo credit: flickr
In my last couple of posts, I’ve mentioned the importance of knowing your child’s learning style. Understanding how your child learns will help them gain confidence in their ability to tackle a new idea they are introduced to at school or home. If you’ve read my posts before, you know I’m always thinking about those of us with learning disabilities like dyslexia. If your child has a learning disability, they could use a confidence boost more than anyone! So, if you don’t know your child’s learning style take this test to find a brief description of each learning style. Let’s focus on the visual learner.
Visual learners can see or imagine what they are learning. They like to listen to descriptive stories. I thought this next one was interesting. Visual learners might have trouble with spoken directions. Maybe that’s why I have to tell my four year old to brush his teeth 8 times before he actually gets the toothbrush out! Tonight, when it’s time to brush teeth, I’ll just give him a visual. I’ll brush my teeth with my index finger. That’s a good visual for teeth brushing, right?
Anyway, back to other characteristics of a visual learner. Their mind creates illustrations or "movies" if you will. They like color. Use a color system to learn how to read or write. What’s an example of a color system? When your child learns the alphabet, have him/her write uppercase letters blue and lower case letters red. Let’s turn reading into a craft time. Grab a magazine, glue, and scissors. Choose a letter, for example “T”. Together, with your child, cut out words that begin with “T” like "table" or "trampoline" Next, cut out a picture of a table or trampolie. Glue the picture of the table or trampline next to the letter "T". Later, when you child sees the letter “T”, they will also visualize a table or trampoline. I wonder if their minds will even imagine a person jumping on the trampoline.
You Tube is the visual learner's best friend. It has great flash cards. Below is one I like that focuses on the letter “B”.
You Tube also has sight words or high frequency words flash cards. I liked this video because of the use of color.
So, what are some book suggestions for a visual learner? Comic books or fantasy books might be a hit with your visual learner!
Robot, go Bot! a comic reader
Calvin and Hobbes are always great!
Journey by Aaron Becker
Photo Credit: Cheryl Colan
If you have been following my last three blogs, you may already be engaging your little one with a second language! But, what happens when you get stuck on a phrase or cannot pronounce a word in another language? Do you give up?
One of the things I found myself doing in the past was holding back because I was afraid to make mistakes. I learned from many people whose second language is English to just let go and try. So, I make a mistake. Who cares?
I have Spanish speaking friends who sometimes misuse a phrase or mispronounce a word in English. Does that stop us from talking? No way! It becomes a teachable moment between us. I might teach the correct phrase or pronunciation and they might share a way to express that phrase or word in Spanish. And vice versa when I make an error. Let's face it, no one can be a true master of any language, including his or her own native language. For example, do I know every medical term known to my physician? Even more, I am learning new technology terms and phrases from our Digital Experience team all the time. Talk about another language! All I can do is keep learning and trying.
Still edgy about pronouncing words in another language? Try uniteforliteracy.com. There are 100 digital or ebooks created right here in Colorado. The books have been translated into over 20 different languages. Let the books do the reading for you! The best part is, because the books were locally designed, the topics are relevant to your child and his or her daily experiences. There is even one called 'Who lives at the Denver Zoo?'
And never forget our own library. Check out audiobooks in Spanish:
And find a few titles on Hoopla:
Mistakes? Errores? Don't give up! Carry on mis amigos, carry on...
Photo credit: flickr
My son loves monsters. We have monster puppets, monster books, monster toys, shirts with wacky monster designs, monster socks etc. These are goofy, silly, harmless monsters. Sometimes at night, however, he is afraid of the scarier kind of monsters. Recently, he had a couple of nights where he was afraid there was a monster under his bed. So, I was inspired to track down some books and ideas to help him battle his nighttime monsters. I discovered a fantastic book called:
Big Bad Bubble by Adam Rubin
This book is hilarious AND it makes scary monsters look totally silly! These monsters are actually terrified of tiny, harmless bubbles! This book really helped my son to laugh at these silly monsters and it made him feel brave, too.
Extend the storytime experience by blowing bubbles after reading the story. This way, your child can show how brave they are by popping the bubbles eagerly. They aren't afraid of bubbles like those super silly monsters are! Also, take a look on Pinterest to find fun ideas and recipes for making a "monster repellent" or "monster spray" to let your child use in their room. You could also ask your child to use washable markers to draw a picture of a scary monster. Tape the drawing up outside. Hand your child a squirt bottle full of water and let your child "wash" away the scary monster!
Did you know that you can gain free entry to some popular museums in Denver and along the Front Range, merely by virtue of being a JCPL cardholder? I know! Awesome, right?!?
You can book your tickets online - using your library card number - up to 30 days in advance. Chances are you'll be happier with the overall experience of using your Culture Pass if you have a fair amount of flexibility in your schedule. For instance, if you want to visit the Butterfly Pavilion on a Saturday, you'll almost certainly want to plan it 30 days out - it's far and away the most popular Culture Pass destination.
Other destinations include:
- Byers-Evans House Museum
- Denver Firefighters Museum
- Denver Museum of Miniatures, Dolls & Toys
- Dinosaur Ridge
- Foothills Art Center
- Golden History Museums
- MCA Denver
- Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum
When it opens in May, don't forget to use your Culture Pass to take a ride on the Platte Valley Trolley.
Where will the Culture Pass take you?
Plan your trip today!
Image credit: flickr
Make some noise!!!!
Making silly sounds for storytime is fuuuuun! More importantly, hearing a variety of sounds and noises helps a child develop the ability to hear the sounds that make up words in spoken language.
Otherwise known as phonological awarenss, this ability is one of the foundations of developing early literacy in infants and young children. Plus, the more engaged, excited and silly you are with your sounds the more your child will enjoy the story!
Here are some great books that give you as the storyteller an excellent opportunity to give your vocal cords a good workout, get silly and boost your child's early literacy skills:
Trains Go By Steve Light
Planes Go By Steve Light
Diggers Go By Steve Light
The Book with No Pictures By B.J. Novak
And now, to show how fun phonological awareness can be, I will end with one of my all time favorite silly songs: Apples and Bananas!
Sing with me!