School is over. Now what can we do to help our little pre-readers and readers to keep from getting bored? How about putting together a Story Telling Basket?
1) Choose a familiar story your child enjoys. I'll use Goldilocks and the Three Bears for my example.
2) Collect a few items from around the house that relate to the story. Three stuffed animals to represent the three bears and a doll or action figure to play the role of Goldilocks. Three plastic bowls, spoons, and three various size "blankets". These blankets could be easily substituted for washcloths. Keep in mind kids really don't care if the objects match the story. Your objects don't even have to be the right scale or size. (Goldilocks could be bigger than Papa Bear.)
3) Lastly, add the correspondingbook from your local library or your home library. Toss these items into a basket (or box) and you've got your very own Story Telling Basket! Quick-and-easy, right? Yet you'll soon be tapping into a couple of important pre-literacy skills and practices: talking and playing.
Use this Story Telling Basket to TALK and PLAY with your child and watch as their imagination takes them away. Listen how they create and retell their own story. Interacting with the Story Telling Basket will give them a chance to practice their new vocabulary. You might even get some insight to things they are experiencing, curious about, or interested in. Let it be their story no matter how far it strays from the actual story in the book. Have fun and don't forget to log those minutes and get your chance to win prizes in our summer reading program.
Photo Credit: Daniel Rocal
Ever feel rushed? I have a bad back, which constantly reminds me to stop and take care of myself. If only I got a text before the twinge of pain! But wait! Texts and tweets for healthy living are out there. And, there are texts and tweets for fun things to do with your child to help stimulate their brains. Perfect for those days when you are not feeling creative or are just plain rushed.
I love this tag line from the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Baby Coalition: "Your baby has you. You have text4baby." Text BABY to 511411 and get free messages during pregnancy and your baby's first year.
A local organization, Bright By Three, sends weekly texts in English or Spanish about ways to support healthy development in babies and toddlers. Just text 'BRIGHT' for English or 'BRILLANTE' for Spanish to 444999.
Does Jeffco Public Library offer Early Literacy tips? Oh yes! Follow us on Twitter: #EarlyLiteracyTips or follow us on Facebook. To access our past Early Literacy posts, click on this link. Some are simple like, "Sing along with your favorite song" or "Snuggle up with a good book". Here is one I really love to share:
My Early Literacy tip for this summer? Register you, your family and your baby for Summer Reading '15! It's for all ages, 0 to 100 and beyond. Doing learning activities with baby counts as brain exercise and reading minutes. When you read books, magazines, whatever you fancy, in front of baby, you are modeling that reading is important as well as enjoyable to your baby. Help us reach 1,000,001 minutes in Jefferson County! You can register online or at the library starting May 29. Log minutes online weekly and win prizes!
It may sound silly to have to remind ourselves to sing a song or snuggle up with a book. But, let's face it. We are busy people! A little nudge to take 5 minutes to stretch my back saves me lots of time (not to mention money;) that I would otherwise spend at the chiropractor's office. Happy texting and tweeting!!!
Image credit: Flickr
VOCABULARY: knowing all kinds of words
Did you know?
That the average 1 to 1 1/2 year old child has a vocabulary consisting of around 20 words.
Fast forward one year to age 2, and this same child will have a 200–300-word vocabulary.
Add one more year and by the time they reach the age of 3, their vocabulary has grown to be about 900–1,000 words!!!
This means that by the age of 3, the average child's vocabulary is 50 times larger than it was just two years before...that's astounding!
According to The Colorado Libraries for Early Literacy (CLeL), that's why ECRR (Every Child Ready to Read) highlights VOCABULARY as one of their 6 early literacy skills designed to promote early literacy in young children.
Why Is It Important?
It's much easier to read a word when it's a word you already know. Children with bigger vocabularies have an easier time when they start to read, since it's much easier for them to make sense of what they're sounding out.
What Can You Do to Help Build This Skill?
Encourage children to learn their native or home language first; this makes learning another language (speaking and reading) easier later.
Talk with children in positive and conversational ways; commands and “no’s” do not encourage language development.
Carry on lots of conversations with children.
Explain the meanings of new words.
Read books! Picture books use a different vocabulary than casual spoken conversation.
Think your toddler isn't listening to what you say? THINK AGAIN!
When my son was around 3 years old and started showing an interest in super heroes and Star Wars, I became one very excited parent!
All of a sudden, I realized that I was going to be able to introduce him to Yoda and to explain Thor the Mighty's origin story.
My son is now 5 years old and we both share a love for super heroes and Star Wars. In fact, I think he might know more details about various characters and realms than I do! I have been using graphic novels specifically targeted at preschool kids, to bond with my son over a common interest, to nurture a love for reading and to have fun learning about super heroes together.
Not so many years ago, comic books in school were considered the enemy. Kids caught sneaking comics between the pages of bulky—and less engaging—textbooks were likely sent to the principal! Don't let that happen!
Sharing graphic novels can be a lot of fun for parents and their preschool aged kids. Don't worry about the long held assumption that they aren't good enough because they aren't considered serious literature. Have fun and enjoy!
And if you are worried about it, recent research has suggested that:
- Reluctant readers might pay more attention to graphic novels: The visual component can help kids imagine the story better and may help them become better writers and readers
- Providing a variety of formats to those already hooked on reading enhances the love of reading
- Reading graphic novels may enhance creativity and promote literacy by fostering a love for reading
With Free Comic Book Day on Saturday, May 2nd and the Denver ComiCon right around the corner on May 23-25, take an opportunity to check out how much fun you and your child can have together exploring graphic novels!
Here are some great titles that are available at the library:
5 Minute Marvel Stories
The Mighty Thor: an Origin Story
DC Superheroes Storybook Collection
Wonder Woman: the Story of the Amazon Princess
Star Wars The Adventures of Luke Skywalker
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