The Children’s Staff is preparing for our summer reading program. The theme changes each year, but the decision to count time spent reading is constant.
The schools encourage all children to read for 15 minutes a day, every day in the summer. It is only a small amount of time, but many studies have shown that it is necessary in order to keep a child’s reading skills from slipping.
The website www.ReadAloud.org encourages families to make this commitment every day of the year. There are a number of cute posters and inspirational slogans to remind you of how important this time is to your child and to you.
During the preschool storytimes this Wednesday and Friday, we played a game in which we tried to guess the different objects that were hidden in a box. The game included this song:
Someone’s at the door. Hear the knocks!
I open up the door and see a box.
I open up the box, but the box is full of rocks.
I really didn’t want a box of rocks!
We sang the song several times. The box contained rocks the first time, but subsequent verses included clocks, locks, blocks, socks, and smocks. Before each verse, the group tried to think of a new object that rhymed with “box.”
This activity combined two things children love: guessing games and wordplay. But playing with language isn’t just for fun; it plays an important role in early literacy. Rhyming encourages children to recognize patterns in sound and language, which increases their phonological sensitivity, or awareness of the idea that words are made up of smaller sounds. Phonological awareness is essential to learning to read and spell, and rhyming games are an easy and fun thing you can do at home to help your child develop this important pre-literacy skill.
In previous posts, we’ve stressed the magic of singing. Children can hear the individual syllables in the words more easily in songs.
Today I want to mention that singing may help parents as well. Many of us have experienced frustrating moments dealing with young children.
Repeating ourselves in a louder voice almost never works. Singing, however, often works.
Barney’s clean up song seems to be universally popular these days. Learn that one, a similar one, or make up your very own for your family. Tension is often reduced and children cooperate so much better. After all, it was Mary Poppins who taught us that “A spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down in a most delightful way.”
Vocabulary is built when talking directly to a child. Once a child begins to talk, give her or him an opportunity to talk to you.
Research shows that conversations that deepen a topic are very beneficial to children just learning how to talk (Developing narrative structure, edited by A. McCabe and C. Peterson. 1991)
David Dickinson, describes this effort to deepen a conversation as “Strive for 5″.
Speak and then wait for up to 5 seconds for the child to respond – and then the adult speaks again. Can you keep the dialogue alive for 5 turns?
Adult –> Child –> Adult –> Child –> Adult
I don’t model this well in storytime. I may ask children questions, but I will not wait patiently for an answer. Please, trust what the researchers say – not what you see me do in front of a group at storytime.
My last post highlighted some favorite Easy Reader books. I encouraged adults to rediscover them and to share some of their favorites with their children.
Then we thought it would be a fun idea to have a tournament where we would pit some easy reader books against each other.
We have 8 books this week, and we will reduce it to the Final 4 on Tuesday, March 31.
Please help us select the winners. Paper ballots are in the children’s room. You can also vote online on the children’s page of the library’s website. ~Maureen
These are the 8 books in contention this week: