This series has been on my mind for a while now. As a former first grade teacher, teaching children to read is one of my greatest passions! But because most children don’t start actually “reading” until around 6 years old (which is upwards of the targeted age range for my blog), I didn’t want parents to feel pressured that their 3-year old needs to start reading (which, by the way, they don’t!). However, the information shared in this series is general information that is beneficial for children of all ages, whether your child is ready to read or not. Don’t implement all of these strategies at once, nor should you expect your child to be able to do everything right away. It is a process and this information is simply for you to implement when you feel your child is ready.
Read to your child
Teaching your child to read is truly a process that begins at infancy. (No, I am most certainly NOT advocating programs that claim to teach your baby to read using flashcards!) What I AM encouraging you to do is to begin reading with your newborn within days of welcoming her home! Not only is this a special bonding time for the two of you, it instills in her a love for books. Enjoyment while reading is one of the single greatest predictors of reading success in school-age children. If children don’t learn from an early age to enjoy reading, it will most likely hinder their ability sometime down the road.
Here are a few suggestions for the types of books to read to your child. But by all means, read whatever your child responds to and enjoys!
- Birth-1 Year: Lullabies, Board Books (with real pictures), Cloth Books (with various textures), Song Books
- 1 Year-3 Years: Rhyming Books, Song Books, Short-Story Board Books
- 3 Years-5 Years: Alphabet Books, Song Books, Picture Books, Rhyming Books
Asking questions while reading to your child is not only great for encouraging your child to interact with the book, but it is also extremely effective in developing his ability to comprehend what he is reading. You see, if our main objective in “reading” is getting our child to “sound out” words, we have missed the boat entirely. Even children who can decode words and “read” with great fluency still might not be able to comprehend what they are reading. If a child can’t comprehend what he is reading, there really is no point to reading at all!
While your child is a baby, ask him questions such as, “Do you see the cat?” while pointing at the picture of the cat. This will not only develop his vocabulary, it will also encourage him to interact with the book that he is reading. As he gets older, ask him to point to things in the book himself and make the noises of the animals he sees.
Once your child is about 2 or 3-years of age, begin asking questions before, during, and after reading the book. Show your child the cover of the book and ask him what he thinks it is going to be about (predicting). While reading, ask him what he thinks is going to happen or why he thinks a character made a particular choice (inferring). If a character is depicting a strong emotion, identify that emotion and ask your child if he has ever felt that way (connecting). At the end of the book, ask if his prediction(s) came true. Afterwards, ask him to tell you what he remembered happening in the book (summarizing).
Modifying each of these techniques during read-alouds to meet the developmental stage of your child is a great way to promote and increase reading comprehension!
Be a good (reading) example
Even if your child is fascinated with books from an early age, her fascination will quickly dwindle if she does not see reading modeled in her home. If you are not an avid reader yourself, make a conscious effort to let your children see you reading for at least a few minutes each day! Read a magazine, a cookbook, a novel, your Bible…it’s up to you! But show your child that reading is something that even adults need to do. If you have a son, share this article with your husband. Sons need to see their fathers read, especially since it is not something that they are naturally prone to doing.
As parents, we can sometimes get wrapped up with what exactly our children should be doing to be successful. But we often forget that children often learn by example. Grab a book and take a load off…for your child’s sake, of course!
Red, Blue and White play dough: we used our favorite play dough recipe. We also added glitter to the white after they played with it the first time. The recipe is super simple: 1 cup water, 1 cup salt, 1 cup flour, 2 TBSP oil and coloring( for this i used sugar free jello! smells so yummy! but you can use food paste or coloring, kool aid or paint.) stir all the ingredients till smooth,cook on med heat till it pulls away from the
pan, cool for a bit, knead still smooth and play!
Shannon blogs at Welcome To Our Wonderland where she share’s books and sometimes activities to go with the children’s books. She taught prek for 11 years and become a stay at home mom 10 years ago when her oldest was born.
I sent out a call for readers to send in their crafts, activities and book recommendations. I am struggling through bad morning sickness and just being a mom is wearing me out. But my readers have come to my rescue and I have been overwhelmed by the community that No Time For Flash Cards has become! This awesome acorn craft was sent in by Kim Young from Mom Tried It! A great blog you need to check out, thank you Kim it’s perfect!
I try to encourage creativity with my children. Sometimes I find myself thinking in very uncreative ways to be creative. We love to do arts and crafts projects. I try to experiment and expose them to different mediums such as play-doh, flubber-style goo, moon sand, floam, etc. We paint on different objects as canvases such as balls, vegetables, windows, concrete, etc. While some of those things are kind of thinking outside the box, one thing remains constant. We use brushes, markers, crayons, etc. I have got to be more creative than this! So I introduce the acorn. You read that correctly, acorn. Today we are using plain old paper, ordinary paint, but we are using them with acorns. My son was a little taken aback by this. He wanted to use a brush, but after some coaxing he really got into it!
You will need a few acorns (with the tops taken off), 2 pieces of paper, scissors, paint, a plate, and tape.
Draw a picture of an acorn on a piece of paper. Make sure to leave space in between the top of the acorn and the acorn bottom. Next, cut out the design to make a stencil. To make this project easier for a preschooler, tape the blank paper to a placemat or table, then tape the stencil over the other piece of paper (also to the table or placemat). This will keep everything from moving and frustrating your little one.
Squeeze some paint onto a plate. I used red, yellow, orange, and brown for beautiful fall colors. Now let your child experiment with the parts of the acorn. You can suggest they use the pieces like stamps. After a few minutes of “stamping”, my son covered an entire acorn bottom with paint and rolled it across the paper. I didn’t think of that. Imaginations can run wild without ruining the picture. The stencil will ensure the picture looks like an acorn no matter how they paint it.
When you are all finished, simply take off the stencil and let it dry. While it is drying, you can read this great book about – what else – acorns.
Pay no attention to the date on the pictures. I forgot to reset it after I charged the battery. Oops.
Acorns Everywhere by Kevin Sherry
“Bonk! When an acorn hits him on the head, a chubby squirrel takes stock. And what does he see? ACORNS EVERYWHERE! With a jolt of hilarious manic energy, he gets to work—Gather! Dig! Bury! Readers will know, even if the squirrel doesn’t, that “gather” does not mean prying acorns from the mouth of a scandalized mouse, the beak of an unsuspecting bird, or . . . well, you’ll see. Will this squirrel get what’s coming to him—or will he get something even better?”
My son really liked this book and laughed along with it. It really showed him about hard work and doing it the right way.
______________________________________________________________________________________This post was written by Kim Young from Mom Tried It !
Introducing Nonfiction into the Lives of Preschoolers
By Dawn Lttle, Links to Literacy, www.linkstoliteracy.com
Children are naturally curious, especially preschoolers. It is through curiosity that children learn. We can foster curiosity, and in turn help children learn, by encouraging and promoting it through nonfiction texts and activities. Here are a few ways to introduce nonfiction into the lives of your preschooler.
- Read Aloud Nonfiction Texts Anytime your preschooler shows an interest in a particular topic, provide nonfiction books on that topic. When you read informational texts aloud to your child (and you don’t have to read nonfiction from cover to cover!), you are building his/her background knowledge.
- Use Environmental Print Provide environmental print for pretend play. For example, if your child is pretending to be a waiter or work in a restaurant, have some take-out menus on hand for him to use. If your child is playing post office, provide him with some junk mail to sort. This can easily turn into a math activity as well. Kids can sort the mail by color or size. When your child turns your family room into a waiting room at the doctor or dentist office, provide magazines and newspapers for him.
- Introduce Text Features If your child has a particular question about a topic, use that time to discuss and show your child a few text features of nonfiction texts. Perhaps he wants to know what a specific dinosaur eats; demonstrate how you can use the table of contents or the index to try to locate the answer quickly, rather than reading through the whole book. If you come upon a word that you know your child will have difficulty understanding, demonstrate how to use a glossary. If there isn’t a glossary, explain to your child what the word means. Briefly, explain how we read differently for different purposes.
- Provide Hands-on Experiences A combination of texts and real-life or hands-on experiences is most powerful for learning. You can use this three-step process to incorporate nonfiction texts into your preschooler’s reading repertoire. Through these steps you will build your child’s background knowledge (essential to comprehending texts).
- Select a text based on a topic that interests your child.
- Hands-On/Read World – Prior to reading, provide an opportunity for your child to have a hands-on experience of some sort related to the topic. Utilize the outside world as much as possible (outdoors in general, museums, special exhibits, etc.)
- Read Aloud -Read aloud the text asking questions as you read. Provide explanations if you believe your child’s comprehension may be breaking down.
- Connect – Draw comparisons between the experience the child had and the text. How are they alike? How are they different? Help your child make connections.
- Create Discovery Baskets Discovery Baskets are made up of items related to a topic. Items that can provide a hands-on experience for a child, as well as texts related to that topic (you can use both fiction and nonfiction) are placed in a basket. Discovery Baskets are great to use if you want to build background knowledge prior to a new experience.
- Example: Prior to making our annual beach trip, I wanted to build my kids’ background knowledge about the beach. Our Discovery Basket included: shells, a bag of sand, several books about shells, and a custom made inflatable beach ball. Our Hands-on Experience included feeling and discussing the different shells, counting the shells, and sorting the shells by size (another math lesson!). We put our hands in the bag and felt the sand. We discussed how it felt. We also created a craft. We bought an inexpensive wooden frame and then I hot glued the shells on to the frame. Although the frame could have been painted, my children chose not to paint the frame. We then had a frame for a picture from our trip. Then we moved on to reading about shells. Finally, we discussed how our shells were similar or different from the shells in the books. We used the beach ball to toss back and forth. The ball had comprehension statements to help us connect our background knowledge with our textbook knowledge. If I had a beach bucket large enough to fit hard cover books, I would have used that as our “basket.”
Reading nonfiction texts with preschoolers provides a natural connection to their own curiosities about the world. Having background knowledge about topics helps children comprehend what they read. By building upon the world knowledge of your preschooler now, you are setting a foundation that will only serve to guide them when they begin reading on their own.
Kids love to receive their own mail. Here are a few nonfiction magazine subscriptions that are fun to read with preschoolers:
Filled with bright colors and interactive stories
Filled with lively photographs and engaging stories to develop pre-reading skills
Full-color photos and simple interactive text that prompts discussion and active learning
This weekend my little Picasso will be putting on his very first tuxedo and walking down the aisle ( we hope) as the ring bearer in my best friend’s wedding. I have wanted to introduce my readers to Mindy Lockard who is an Etiquette Consultant and the woman behind Manner of The Month Magazine . This seemed like the perfect opportunity. As a mom of two young girls she has realistic advice and tips for parents who want to make manners a priority without expecting too much of little ones.
I am thrilled to be a guest here on No Time for Flash Cards and loved the topic Allie suggested. Being apart of the wedding party is a magical and potentially stressful endeavor for both the parents and flower girl or ring barer. As an etiquette consultant and mother of a three-time flower girl, here are a few tips I’ve learned (some the hard way) to help you help your children make the most of the magic!
For more summertime manners subscribe to July’s Issue of ManneroftheMonth.com magazine or for a summer of gracious living visit our blog.