Monday, November 22, 2010

My Finds

I found this book, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom!, by Bill Martin JR, and John Archambault,  and a cassette to go with it in the early 1990's.  The class I was teaching then was an alternative kindergarten class.  The children loved it!   I can't read it now to my grandson without singing it!

Since then Bill Martin Jr,  Michael Sampson, and Lois Ehlert have done a numbers book , and John Archambault and David Plummer have written ABC Chicka Boom with Me.  The last is a sing-along phonemic awareness/phonics songs and activities workbook.

Any of these are a great addition to a young child's wish list!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Third in a Series of Musings on Exciting Ways to Motivate Your Young Child to Read

Take out the markers and let's get baking!  Markers?... Baking?... Yum? Seriously, one of the best ways I have found to motivate children to read is to give them a reason to read.  Children love to get into the kitchen and bake!  To get their hands in the dough, to roll it, and pat lick the icing from the beaters, to scrape the last of the icing in the bowl.  It is a great motivator!

I have worked with children in the classroom (sometimes 20-some of them), reading the recipe with them, walking to the local grocery and buying the ingredients (each child with a slip of paper with his ingredient to find as we all walked around together), and contributing each of the items to the recipe.  We made stone soup one year doing exactly that!  What fun it was to have the parents come in and feast on the delicious soup.  And, yes, we used a stone in the soup.  It was a stone that a friend inherited from her Native American grandmother for the specific purpose of using it for soup. (I would not recommend taking a stone from the garden and using it.)

But, most interesting, with young children, is baking!  They especially love to make cookies.

How do markers fit into the recipe?  Writing the recipe out, as simply as possible, with different colored markers for different words so the children recognize the words more easily is great fun!  For example, every time cup is written in the recipe write it in red, flour could be green, butter could be yellowbrown sugar could be brown , etc.  This helps the child remember the repeated words in the recipe, adding to their vocabulary.

The recipe might look like this:

Brown Sugar Shortbread Cookies

1 cup butter softened
1 cup brown sugar
2 1/4 cups flour

Cream butter and brown sugar together.
Add flour , mixing at low speed until dough begins to leave the sides of the bowl.
Form into 1 inch balls.
Place on ungreased cookie sheet 2 inches apart.
Stamp with cookie stamp or bottom of glass.
Bake at 325 for 12 to 15 minutes.
Makes 2 to 3 dozen cookies.

This same concept can be used in building something together (reading directions), playing a game together (reading the rules of the game), writing and sending letters together.  All provide reasons for reading for the child in an experential way, an interesting way, a way of intense meaning to the child!

One of the most important elements in all of the activities that I have mentioned thus far in motivating your child to read is the interaction between you and your child/children.  All of these activities have special meaning because of the love you have for your child.  Sweet memories to be locked away in the heart of the child to remember and cherish, and to be associated with the act of reading! 

Happy eating...I mean, reading!



Thought that you would like to meet "Cali, the Big Red Dog"!  Not quite red, but BIG!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Second in a Series of Musings on Exciting Ways to Motivate Your Young Child to Read

A lot of the buzz, as far back as I can remember, has been to read to your child beginning at an early age if you want your child to have a great love for reading.  And, I agree with this wholeheartedly! But what about making it have intense meaning for the child?  How can you accomplish this while reading to your children?

Taking a cue from my grandson, Silas, who calls our Siberian husky "Cali, the big red dog", while reading to your child you can make him the main character of the story.  Who says that you have to use the name that is supplied?  Children love to hear their own name mentioned in the book.  My daughter Anna loved it when we read the story Anna Banana to her (unfortunately for her the name has stuck as a nickname).

Another way to have it have meaning to the child is to involve the child in the reading process.  I love the book Ferdinand  by Munro Leaf   for this express purpose.  Ferdinand is a bull who loves to smell the flowers.  Children love it when, instead of saying the word smell, they draw air into their noses and make the sound of sniffing, and then say the rest of the refrain, "the flowers".
And, what child doesn't love to "act out" a story?  With or without simple props, with or without simple costumes, the action of bringing the story to life is so intriguing to young and old alike. 

Storytelling, involving the child (or someone the child knows) is another way the word has intense meaning to him.  Telling a story to the child about himself (real or fantasy) can propel him into a love of language.  These stories can even be written down (by you or the child) and illustrated with drawings or photos, though this is not necessary.  Stories can be started and then added onto by the child, as a way to involve him in the storytelling.
The more ways your child can experience the wonderful world of language, the more he will have a great love for it!   Happy reading! (literally)


PS  If you would like to see a wonderful example of storytelling read this interesting excerpt from my friend's (John Bird's) Memoirs, I Used to Want to Be A Cowboy